The Builder Magazine
December 1925 - Volume XI - Number 12
TABLE OF CONTENTS
New Mexico's Challenge to American Freemasonry - By BRO. JAFFA MILLER,
Roswell, New Mexico
A GRAND LODGE OF SORROW
Great Men Who Were Masons - John Mills Browne - By BRO. GEORGE W.
BAIRD, P.G.M., District of Columbia
Turhand Kirtland - First Master of the First Masonic Lodge on the Western Reserve -
By BRO. JAMES J. TYLER, Ohio
Nolichucky Jack and the Mountain Men - By BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART
The Claims of the Modern Operatives - BY BRO. R. J. MEEKREN - (Concluded)
Impressions of Freemasonry in Spain - By BRO. GRANVILLE T. ZOHRAB, Ferrol,
TO JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN
Freemasonry in India in 1780 - By BRO. I. V. GILLIS, Peking, China
WHAT IS MASONRY'S GREATEST DANGER?
A NEW CRUSADE
FREEMASONRY IN ITALY
The Secondary Symbolism of Gothic Architecture - By BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MANCHESTER ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MERSEYSIDE ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC
THE SUPPRESSED TRUTH ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT
HOMER AND THE PROPHETS, OR HOMER AND NOW.
THE QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
WHAT MASONRY IS NOT
THE TWO GLOBES AND THE PILLARS
BOOKS WANTED AND FOR SALE
YE EDITOR'S CORNER
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New Mexico's Challenge to American Freemasonry
By BRO. JAFFA MILLER, Roswell, New Mexico
Grand Master, Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A. F. & A. M.. President, National
Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
IN timely accord with this article and in recognition of the cause of the tubercular in
the Southwest, so strongly put forward in the article in "The Builder" for October,
1924, by Bro. R. J. Newton, of San Antonio, entitled "J'accuse", as well as in our
editorial columns comes action by the Masonic Service Association of the United
States at its November annual meeting.
The Association gave definite recognition to the cause of the tubercular, classing it, in
effect, with the National emergencies for which the Association was originally
created. It instructed its Executive Commission to incur the necessary exploitation
expense to place the matter appropriately before the grand jurisdictions of the country
at their annual communications; to proceed to the collection of a volunteer fund from
these grand jurisdictions of not less than $25,000 to be utilized in the development of
an effective method of handling the tubercular situation and to contribute at least
$5,000 of this sum as collected to the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria
Association recently incorporated and formally sponsored by the grand jurisdiction of
New Mexico to provide a legal entity by which the work of relief may be carried
AT the December, 1921, annual communication of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Texas,
the idea of American Freemasonry making hospital provision for brethren afflicted
with pulmonary tuberculosis was first submitted to a Grand Lodge for action. This
may have also been the first time that such action was ever suggested to any Masonic
body in the world.
During the past four years the project has been discussed in annual communications
of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico and in other Grand Lodges. It
was also considered at meetings of the Masonic Service Association and at meetings
of the Executive Commission of that organization. Governing bodies of the York and
Scottish Rite have given it some consideration.
Because of the magnitude of the project and possibly because of the difficulty of
uniting forty-nine Grand Jurisdictions in any effort, no matter how urgent and worthy,
not one of these Grand Bodies, nor any other Masonic body, or organization, gave
evidence of any willingness, or intention, to assume responsibility, or leadership, of
this movement. Arizona is the only Grand Jurisdiction, as far as we know, that has
initiated a plan for the care of its own brethren.
During this period of four years' discussion and inaction from fifteen to twenty
thousand American Freemasons died of tuberculosis, many of whom could have been
saved to their families by hospital care and treatment. Each day that action is
postponed means the loss of more valuable lives. Reliable estimates, prepared by the
National Tuberculosis Association, show that more than four thousand men, over the
age of twenty, die every year in any group of three million men and that such a group
would have approximately forty thousand living cases of tuberculosis needing
The states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and the southwestern part of Texas and
the southern part of California are peculiarly affected by this problem, because for
more than a generation, sick men and women from the other states have migrated to
the Southwest due to the fact that its climatic conditions are far more favorable to
persons afflicted with tuberculosis than the climate of any other part of the country.
The majority of these people, sooner or later, become charges upon public or private
charity, and because of the lack of money to secure adequate care and treatment, die
lingering deaths without hope.
The tragic situation resulting from this great migration of the sick and their families
has created a problem that is now well-known to all students of public health and
sociological conditions. An effort was made in 1910 to direct national attention to this
problem by a meeting held in St. Louis, in connection with the annual meeting of the
American Medical Association and a second meeting one month later held in
connection with the National Conference of Charities and Correction. Delegates to
these two conventions from Southwestern states were brought together to consider the
situation, and the Southwestern Conference on Tuberculosis was organized. The
second meeting of this Conference was held in Waco, Texas, on April 16, 1912, and
resolutions were adopted warning the sick against coming to the Southwest without
adequate means and calling upon the Federal Government to provide for
hospitalization of stranger consumptives in the Southwest.
As a result of this work, the United States Public Health Service investigated the
problem, and the reports of their findings are printed in the Public Health Reports of
March 12, 19, April 9, 16, 23, and June 18, 1915.
In 1920, the National Tuberculosis Association made a study of the situation and
again in 1925 reviewed conditions in several cities. The report of the investigator was
read at the meeting of the National Conference on Social Work held in Denver, Colo.,
this summer, and was printed in the Survey of Sept. 15.
TRAGIC CONDITIONS DISCOVERED
The investigator concludes that, notwithstanding an intensive campaign of publicity
by the National Tuberculosis Association and its affiliated state and local societies
and in spite of the fact that many additional hospitals have been built in the north and
east for the care of consumptives in the last ten years, the migration to the Southwest
She also found the same tragic conditions of poverty and suffering in 1920 and 1925,
as were found by the investigation of the Southwestern Conference on Tuberculosis
and by the U. S. Public Health Service more than ten years ago. Southwestern states
and cities were in no better position to care for the sick from the other states than they
were ten to fifteen years ago. No other agency had arisen or developed in all that time
to assist in the solution of the problem.
Our interest, as Masons, in this unhappy situation, lies in the fact that American
Freemasons, like other men, contract tuberculosis, and form a part of the migration of
the sick to the Southwest. No facts can be given as to the number who come. But
practically every lodge in the states of the health belt have had some experience with
sick brethren who apply for aid and comfort. On page 355 will be found some
histories of special cases. Many more could be added to this list from information we
have, and a far larger number would be found if we could make an intensive study
and investigation of the relief work of all lodges in the states affected. One of the
chief difficulties in gathering this material is in the fact that practically none of the
lodges keep a complete and accurate record of relief work, and few of them show the
cause of distress.
Additional facts are being secured to the Sanatoria Commission of the Grand Lodges
of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, and these facts will be published in later
numbers of THE BUILDER. Because of the difficulty mentioned in getting facts and
our inability to cover the whole field, we cannot give the total number of Masonic
sick and the number of members of their families accompanying them in the
Southwest, nor can we give you the grand total of the amounts expended for their care
and relief. However the following from only one city will be of interest:
REPORT OF THE MASONIC RELIEF AND EMPLOYMENT BUREAU OF EL
" All relief work for non-resident indigent tuberculous Masons is carried on by this
Bureau, which is composed of all Masonic bodies in the city. The local bodies handle
relief work among their own members.
"The Bureau expended a total of $33,634.94 or an average of nearly $1000 monthly,
for thirty-four months from Dec. 1, 1922, to Oct. 1, 1925, entirely for the care of
Masons and members of their families, from other states and cities. A considerable
part of this money is refunded by home lodges, so it is in effect a revolving relief
fund, created by El Paso Masons for this purpose, supported by monthly assessments
on the membership.
"Owing to limited clerical help, figures are lacking as to the number of people aided.
Every conceivable form of assistance was given.
"There are about sixty Masonic men and women in El Paso Tuberculosis Sanatoria,
and about twenty on the home visiting lists. It is estimated that about 40 per cent of
hospital patients receive some help from home lodges, either through the Bureau or
There are over two hundred non-resident Masonic sick in and around Albuquerque,
N. M., and other cities and towns report many sick from other Grand Jurisdictions.
What will American Freemasonry do about this condition ?
During the last four years, while we have discussed and referred to committees, laid
upon the table until next morning and have used up all the usual parliamentary
methods of indefinitely postponing any action that will mean something, a few real
Masons have been serving their addicted brethren. And the majority of these men
who are putting Masonry into actual practice, are themselves sufferers from
tuberculosis. You may have heard something about the Sojourners' Club, of Fort
Bayard, N. M., an organization of tuberculosis ax-service men. Here is a brief report
of what they have done and are doing:
REPORT OF THE SOJOURNERS' CLUB, FORT BAYARD, N. M.
"In 1920, when the Club was organized to meet a great need, there were about 1,000
patients in the hospital. Government was providing beds, food, medical and surgical
attention. Action on claims for compensation was slow.
"Many patients had no money, lacked even the smallest necessities for comfort, and
some had to stay in bed for lack of suitable clothing. Many of them carried burdens of
grief and worry for loved ones at home, without means of support, and this retarded
"Money was contributed, by those who had it, to help those who had none. Help was
given as needed and later, when the Grand Lodge of New Mexico adopted the Club
and secured assistance from other jurisdictions, this relief work was developed to
cover every variety of need. This relief took two forms: direct contributions and
loans. Advances of $10 monthly were made to many for incidental needs, and larger
sums loaned for special personal and family needs. Many men refused aid but
accepted loans, and when compensation was received, most of these advances were
"The service of the Club was not limited to Masons and members of their families,
but was extended to any of the patients and personnel of the hospital who needed aid.
and the Club sought out, or was sought by the sick and unfortunate for many miles. A
total of $66,042 53 has been expended by the Club since its organization, including
the sum of $26,000, contributed by the Northern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite for
its building and furnishing.
"With the extension of the compensation there is now less need for relief work and
the Club is developing its recreational and educational program. Its building is a
"Four hundred and fifty Masons have passed through the hospital in the last five
years, all of whom have benefited in some way by the Club's activities, and many of
them have had a part in the work."
Some few special cases are cited lower on the page. This Masonic service is summed
up in the following:
"The work of the Club shows a fine appreciation of the principles of brotherly love
and relief as taught by Masonry, and I do not believe that anyone can estimate the
great good you are doing.
Leon M. Abbott. Sovereign Grand
Commander, Northern Jurisdiction,
A. & A., Scottish Rite."
With this splendid example before us, having seen this actual working out of Masonic
teachings, the Grand Lodge of New Mexico has determined not to wait any longer
upon any other Masonic body to initiate the movement for hospitalization of Masonic
consumptives in the Southwest. Due to our small numbers - our total membership in
the state being only 6,42 1 - and small financial resources, we hesitated to take action,
hoping that some one of our larger and wealthier Grand Jurisdictions would assume
the responsibility. We now propose, with the help of the Supreme Architect of the
Universe and the rank and file of Freemasonry, three million strong, to go to the aid
of our brethren standing in the Northeast Comer. We firmly believe that 99 per cent
of the Masons of America will endorse and support this project for hospitalization of
the sick when it is presented to them.
Acting under authority conferred by resolution of the Grand Lodge at its last
communication, a charter has been secured from the State of New Mexico for the
organization of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association, with the
"To act as an agency, or trustee, to receive and administer funds contributed or
acquired for the relief of Freemasons and members of their families; to secure
hospitalization of the sick, to render service according to the need and our ability; to
erect and operate sanatoria; to aid in the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis
among Masons and their families; to disseminate knowledge as to the cause, methods
of treatment, relief and cure of tuberculosis."
This charter is broad enough to permit us to do anything which we may find
necessary to do in the relief of consumptives and their families.
To me, one of the most powerful arguments for hospitalization of consumptives is the
fact that by removing them from the home we are safeguarding the children from
infection which will later in life cause them to die of tuberculosis, or they may
become pitiful, pinch- faced little hunch-backs, or hobble through life on shortened
limbs. When we care for the fathers we are saving the children.
The plan of organization provides for a member of the association's board of
governors from every Grand Jurisdiction and for members at large from all of the
higher bodies, having national or interstate jurisdiction and from the Mystic Shrine
and Eastern Star national bodies.
To secure this charter it was of course necessary to name officers for the Association
from the New Mexico Grand Lodge until men from other states are found to take the
positions of leadership.
With the organization of this national hospital association, New Mexico challenges
American Freemasonry to service for the sick and afflicted brethren, husbands and
fathers, who through no fault of their own are in need of our fraternal assistance. If, as
it is estimated, $1,000 will provide for a brother Mason's hospital care for one year,
figure out in dollars and cents just how many months, weeks, days, hours or minutes
you can afford to keep one tuberculous Mason in a hospital. We have created a legal
Masonic entity which we expect, within a short time, will become national in its
scope, with authority to receive and administer funds as your trustee, for the aid and
comfort of your brethren.
* Within a decade the Masonic World will be called together to celebrate the 200th
anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry in what is now the United States of
America. Masons of all nations will join with us in a great Bicentennial World
Congress. American Freemasonry will give an account of its stewardship. It will
show the world, in a great Masonic Exposition, what it has accomplished, for
America, for humanity and for the Craft.
There are many designs upon many Masonic trestleboards throughout the country.
But there exists no national trestleboard upon which can be placed "The Great
Design," on which American Freemasonry can unite and work out together "The
Master Plan." The New Mexico Grand Lodge dares to set up the National Masonic
Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association as the national trestleboard upon which American
Freemasonry can work out a great design, a master plan for the hospitalization of our
suffering and afflicted brethren.
There should be no uncared-for Mason suffering from tuberculosis in the year 193-?
Let us finish this greatest of all Masonic tasks before that year begins, or have it well
on the way to completion. Then we can fittingly celebrate our Y ear of Jubilee before
resuming labor in another century, which will be the greatest in the history of
American Masonry, because this plan of hospitalization of tuberculous Masons will
initiate a new era of practical Masonic service and accomplishment.
* Masonic historians disagree as to the year Freemasonry was founded in America.
Until that point is settled the date is left open - 193- ?
A GRAND LODGE OF SORROW
Following are some case histories of tuberculous Masons in Southwestern states,
selected as typical experiences of brethren who come seeking health.
Brother No. 1. - Grand Lodge of Colorado. Sojourners' Club loaned $100 to reinstate
government insurance, December, 1921 thus assuring wife, soon to become a widow,
of support. Later in month wired wife to come to Ft. Bayard hospital as his end was
near. Met her and arranged for living accommodations. Patient died Jan. 4, 1922.
Wired relatives and friends, telegraphed home lodge about funeral arrangements,
attended to shipping body and looked after widow until her departure.
Brother No; 2 - Grand Lodge of Scotland. Shipped to Albuquerque by Masonic Relief
Assoication. Cincinnati. Sent from there to Ft. Bayard Hospital by Public Health
Great Men Who Were Masons
John Mills Browne
By BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.G.M., District of Columbia
JOHN MILLS BROWNE, Surgeon General of the Navy, was born in New
Hampshire in 1831, and was graduated at a university in that state, with the degree of
M. D. The record does not show at which college he received this, but as such a
qualification always was, and is, a prerequisite for all medical appointments in the
Navy, it is certain that he of course must have taken the regular course. His original
examination for admission into the Navy seems to have been a very searching one,
and mention is made of the fact that he graduated before reaching his majority.
He was commissioned an Assistant Surgeon in the Navy in March, 1853, and after a
short hospital detail, he was ordered to the sloop of war Warren at San Francisco, on
Aug. 4, 1853, and he served in that little vessel until May, 1855, when he was
transferred to the Coast Survey Schooner Active, in the Pacific. The service was hard,
the living space small, and but little time was spent in port. This was in “the early
days of California,” and though Dr. Brown could not claim to be a “Forty-niner’ nor
even a “spring of fifty,” he was intimate with many of the survivors of the old
Vigilance Committees. He was transferred from the Active to the Dolphin, a brig, but
remained in her only a few months. He received his promotion to the rank of Passed
Assistant Surgeon in 1856, while still attached to the Active, and then in 1858 he was
ordered to the Naval Hospital at Norfolk, Va., during the yellow fever epidemic. A
year later he was appointed to the frigate Constellation for service on the coast of
Africa. At that time England, France, and the United States were each obliged by the
provisions of a treaty for the suppression of the slave trade, to keep at least one ship
stationed on the west coast of Africa for this purpose. Most of the trade centered
around the Bight of Benin, from the rivers which flow into it, which at that time had
not been explored. The whole region was a fever hot bed, and deaths were so frequent
that England and the United States were obliged to purchase (jointly) a cemetery on
one of the Cape de Verde Islands, to bury the Protestant dead, as the bigoted
Portuguese priests forbade their interment in the papal cemeteries, and the men had a
horror of being buried at sea. Among sailors generally an old couplet was current:
"Beware, beware of the Bight of Benin,
For few come out where many go in."
Thanks to modern medical science this is no longer true, and there is no more risk in
residing on the west coast of Africa than anywhere else.
In 1861 Dr. Browne was transferred to the Kearsarge, and was in that vessel in 1864
during her fight with the Alabama, one of the most evenly matched seafights that ever
Dr. Browne was transferred to the New York Navy Yard in 1864-5, and after that
returned to California. He built the hospital at Mare Island, which embodied all the
improvements of that day, and for long was regarded as a model. After that he was
fleet surgeon on board the California and following that the Pensacola, but was
recalled to Washington in 1882 where he became Surgeon General of the Navy from
1888 to 1893, from which office he was placed on the retired list in 1893. He died of
paralysis in 1894 and was buried with Masonic honors in Arlington National
Cemetery, where the beautiful memorial was erected.
He received his first three degrees in a lodge in New Hampshire. He was Master of
Naval Lodge, No. 87, in Vallejo, Calif., in 1871; High Priest of Naval Royal Arch
Chapter, No. 35, in 1869; Grand Master of California from 1875 to 1879; Grand High
Priest of California in 1878; and Grand Master of the Grand Consistory of California,
1874-5-6. He was a de facto Thirty-third Degree Mason, and devoted much time to
his Masonic duties.
He married, in California, the daughter of Mr. Turner, a Civil Engineer in the employ
of the Navy Department. She was a granddaughter of Francis Scott Key, the author of
the Star Spangled Banner.
Dr. Browne was one of the most perfect Masonic ritualists the writer has ever known,
and one of the readiest and most impressive public speakers. He was always most
careful in his utterances never to injure anyone's feelings or to give any unnecessary
His monument is the only one in the Arlington National Cemetery having inscribed
on it the full insignia of the Consistory. It stands in a conspicuous place, near the Lee
mansion, and has been much admired.
Surgeon General Browne was a classical scholar as well as a skillful surgeon. He was
a most patient physician, slow to reach a decision, but nearly always correct in his
diagnosis, which was an important factor in his success. In his personal character he
was modest, kind and generous, and greatly beloved not only by his family, and the
members of the Masonic Fraternity, but also by all who had come in contact with him
officially or otherwise in the Navy.
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First Master of the First Masonic Lodge on the Western Reserve
By BRO. JAMES J. TYLER, Ohio
THE term Western Reserve is not merely the fortuitous combination of two words of
our language, lacking any special significance. More than any other locality west of
the Alleghenies, the term Western Reserve embodies the spirit of colonization, the
hardihood of the pioneer, the willingness to endure for religious conviction, the
theoretical and practical exposition of the tenets of democracy, the inclusion of thrift
both private and public, the fullness of patriotism, the devotion to education. It
represents a condensed history of civilization and embodies the best of American
civilization, and is a precious heritage which deserves to be perpetuated."
FREDERICK C. WAITE, Ph.D.
LESS than a century and a quarter ago, the State of Ohio, and more especially the
Western Reserve, was an almost unbroken wilderness. To subdue the pathless forests,
those noble pioneers left their homes in the East and struck their axes in the huge
growths of the forests, converting them into fertile fields and replacing the wigwam
of the Indian with the comfortable abodes of civilization. They came to conquer a
wilderness and they conquered it. They sought a "land of promise" and they realized
it. "The secret of their success may be traced to the moral principles which
characterized their education; hence they practiced economy, and led a frugal life
commensurate with their limited means; they built log cabins in which to dwell, log
schoolhouses in which to educate their children, and log churches in which to worship
God. They had faith, not only in God, but in themselves; they regarded each other as
a common brotherhood, and helped each other in time of need. They looked ahead;
ever mindful of their responsibilities to both God and man, they have left to their
posterity a rich inheritance, rich in lands, and rich in lessons of wisdom."
There is still preserved in the Connecticut State Library, the charter issued to that
colony in 1 662 by Charles II, which defines the limits of the colony to be
Massachusetts on the north, Long Island Sound on the south, the Narragansett River
on the east, and the Pacific Ocean on the west, excepting certain portions granted
previously. "By virtue of this charter, subsequent to the Revolution, Connecticut
claimed land west of Pennsylvania. Controversy in relation to this claim at length
settled by the cession, by Connecticut to the United States, of all land west of the
State of Pennsylvania, reserving a tract one hundred and twenty miles in length,
between Lake Erie and the forty-first parallel of north latitude. This cession was
accepted, and was considered as an acknowledgment that the claim of Connecticut
was well founded. This tract received the name of the Connecticut Western Reserve."
Excepting the "Fire Lands," containing half a million acres on the western end of the
Reserve, so-called from being given by the state of Connecticut to certain sufferers by
fire and destruction of their property in that state during the Revolutionary War, and
the Salt Spring tract lying in the townships of Austintown, Jackson, Weathersfield,
and Lordstown, and a few other parcels previously sold or negotiated, this tract was
sold by the state in 1795 to the Connecticut Land Company for $1,200,000, which
money was placed in the school fund of the state and has always there remained.
Under General Moses Cleaveland, in 1796, the survey of the Reserve was
commenced, and in January, 1798, the survey into townships five miles square then
being completed, "the land was partitioned among the stockholders of the company
by draft. When the partition was completed, the stockholders of the company received
from the trustees deeds of the land they had drawn. Many of the grantees removed
soon thereafter to their new country, clearings were made in the forest, log houses
were erected, crops were put in the ground, and thus in the spring of 1798 was
commenced the regular settlement of the Reserve."
There were two ways to enter the Reserve, namely, through New York state to
Buffalo and along Lake Erie, or through Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh, to the Beaver
and up the Mahoning. By the first of these two ways there came, in 1798, Turhand
Kirtland, destined to be a few years later the first Worshipful Master of the first
Masonic Lodge on the Western Reserve. He was a descendant of the family of
Kyrlands, landed gentry, of Sherrington, in Buckinghamshire, England, which sent its
first representatives to this country in 1635. The family settled in Lynn, Mass., but
later moved to Saybrook, Conn. Turhand, of the fifth generation of Kirtlands in this
country, was bom at Wallingford, Conn., Nov. 16, 1755. He was a carriage
manufacturer by trade, which occupation he followed in Wallingford until his
removal to Ohio. "In 1776 he was in the provisional service of New York at the time
of the defeat of the American Army on Long Island and was engaged on board the
boats which conveyed our retreating forces over to the mainland. He, with most of the
company, was attacked with the malignant camp distemper, typhoid dysentery, and
was discharged at Sawpits. After his recovery and return home, he pursued for a
number of years the occupations of carriage making and farming in his native town."
Later he was one of the proprietors of the Connecticut Land Company in the purchase
of the Western Reserve from the mother state.
Each member of the company drew his portion by lot and "in the first draft of the
company, in 1798, he with several others drew the township of Mecca and part of the
township of Auburn. He also, in company with Messrs. Benjamin Doolittle, Seth
Hart, William Law, Andrew Hull, Titus Street, Levi Tomlison and Daniel Holbrook,
drew the townships of Poland, Burton, and over two thousand acres in Kirtland
(located midway between West Mentor and Willoughby), as well as many minor
amounts in other townships. Three months after this draft, April, 1798, he set out with
his party of surveyors and settlers upon the arduous journey to the Northwest
Territory where lay these new possessions." Each succeeding summer he returned,
locating first at Burton (now Geauga county), but spent much of his time in Poland
and Youngstown, engaged in examining, surveying and selling land, until 1803, when
his family accompanied him and settled in Poland.
He not only attended to the sale of his own lands but was also agent for the
Connecticut Land Company, and while acting in this capacity during the year 1798,
he surveyed the townships of Burton and Poland, and during the years 1798-1800
transacted most of the business connected with the final purchase of land by John
Young, and assisted him in laying out the village of Youngstown. He continued to act
as agent for the company for many years, and, until he retired from active business in
1834, had charge of the greater part of the land of those proprietors of the Connecticut
Land Company who resided in the East.
From his diary we learn that during the year 1798, in fulfillment of his duty as agent
for the company, he laid out and opened a road through the wilderness, from Grand
River, near Painesville, to Poland. This was the second road of any distance in old
Trumbull County and connected Lake Erie with the Mahoning River and thus
establishing communication between the two gateways to the Reserve. This road
started at Poland and followed rather closely the old saltmaker's and Indian trail to
Salt Springs, thence to Warren, and north on what is now Mahoning avenue. In
Champion it turned off to the west above the County Farm, led through Southington,
Nelson, Parkman, Burton and thence to Grand River. "Over this road the Indians
walked, the early settlers went on horseback, and the first stage coaches sometimes
rattled and sometimes plowed the mud. It was at different times known as the plank
road, the turnpike, and the state road."
It is of interest to trace the route of between six and seven hundred miles which
Turhand Kirtland with his party of surveyors and settlers, with their supplies and
cattle, traveled on their journey from Old to New Connecticut. From Wallingford they
followed the old Boston and New York post road to the Hudson River. Then by way
of the Hudson to Schenectady, and from here the boats and supplies continued up the
Mohawk River through Wood Creek and into Oneida Lake to the Oswego River. By
this river they reached Lake Ontario and followed its southern shore to the Niagara
River. From thence the boats were hauled around the Falls on the Canadian side and
then navigated up the river to Buffalo.
The cattle went overland from Schenectady along the Genesee Road and Niagara
Road, turning off to Buffalo Creek. Turhand Kirtland was with the party which
proceeded by land, for he states that they left Geneva on the 22nd of April, and his
diary, from which the following extracts have been taken, begins abruptly as follows:
Sunday, May 12, 1798—1 crossed the Genesee River with Esq. Law, Abott, Moss,
etc., with oxen, two cows, one steer, having in company forty heads of cattle and
swine. Arrived Monday at Buffalo Creek, leaving the cattle with the men to come on
the next morning.
Tuesday, May 14— Swam our cattle over Buffalo Creek and took a boat. Mr. Abott
and Mr. Moss went to Chippeway and down to the indescribable Falls of Niagara.
Wednesday, May 15— Went to garrison at Niagara to Mr. Samuel Cook's and put up to
wait for the boats to come on. Spent my time in viewing garrisons and the adjacent
country until Saturday, 19th. Sunday, May 20— At daylight went up the river to
Queensland . . . detained at portage until Tuesday noon. I arrived at Chippeway and
proceeded to Fort Erie.
Wednesday, May 23— Arrived at Buffalo.
Thursday, May 24— Left Buffalo and arrived at a small creek about five miles and lay
wind bound Friday and Saturday . . . hung our grindstone and ground some tools . . .
fished and hunted some and Sunday arrived at Presque Isle (Erie), was treated very
politely by Capt. Lyman. Slept and breakfasted with him and took a glass of Most
Excellent Cyder and some garden seeds.
Monday. May 28— Arrived at Conneaut (Stow Castle). Left Conneaut Thursday, May
Sunday, June 3— Arrived at Grand River, about eighteen miles, encamped, and found
on the interval as fine large strawberries as ever I saw.
Monday, June 4— Went up the river about four miles to the Indian Town at the old
fording place. Found several old houses and a large settlement.
Tuesday. June 5— Esq. Law and Mr. Beard started the road for several miles.
Wednesday. June 6— Cut one and a half miles of road.
Saturday, June 16— We caught a very fine faun we judged about one month old which
made us an Excellent Dinner.
Sunday, June 17— Esq. Law ointed for the itch.
Monday, June 25— Being out of bread and flour was obliged to give up surveys this
day ... We killed a large rattlesnake— fifteen rattles and carried him home and
dressed him and cooked him and notwithstanding my exclamations to the contrary,
after it was cook, it was generally eat with a good relish as any fresh meat we had eat
on the road. I can say with candor I never ate better meat.
Wednesday, July— Being Independence Day drank a can extraordinary and several
Patriotic toasts. Mr. Beard with his hands to survey.
Friday, July 6— Turhand Kirtland and Mr. Umberfield completed a log house on
which they had been working, and Mr. Umberfield's family moved in. "It being the
first night they had slept in a house since we left Geneva, being which was the 22nd
of April, but as I had not finished the chamber floor I concluded not to leave our
Sunday July 8— [He completed his room in the cabin, made a bedstead, struck his tent
and moved into Mr. Umberfield's cabin.] "It being the first night I had slept in a house
since I left Queenstown."
Thursday, July 19— Arrived in Cleaveland and found Col. Sheldon and Rising unwell.
Friday. July 20— Spent in viewing the town ... of Cleaveland. He returned to
Wallingford to pass the winter, and in 1799 he was again on the Reserve, returning
this time no doubt by way of Pennsylvania. On May 2 of that year he attempted a
journey from Poland to Burton, and on his arrival in Youngstown, he states, "found to
my great disappointment that the road was so incomplete that I could not take my
wagon further than No. 4 (Warren)."
Sunday, June 23, 1799— Shirted, shaved and read and went to Boardman.
Saturday, June 29—1 set out with Doolittle and Law for Burton, and went to
Youngstown and got a pair of shoes. Set on my horse and went to No. 4 (Warren).
Saturday, August 31—1 explored some and filled a map.
Sunday, September 1— I went to Youngstown to attend public Worship. The Rev.
William Wick from Washington county (Penn.) preached, it being the first Sermon
ever delivered on New Connecticut.
Saturday, September 14—1 set out for Burton with Mr. Weaver and Benjamin; went to
No. 4 (Warren) and put up at Quinby's.
Saturday, September 26— Doolittle and Law set out for McIntosh (Beaver, Penn.) and
Washington on the way home.
An event occurred the following year which no doubt determined the location of the
first Masonic lodge in New Connecticut. On July 10, 1800, Arthur St. Clair, Governor
(1788-1802) of the territory northwest of the Ohio River, organized the entire Reserve
as Trumbull County with Warren as the county seat. This immense county, now
divided into a dozen counties, was known as Trumbull County of the Northwest
Territory, for it was not until 1803 that Ohio was admitted into the Union as a state.
The eastern part of the township comprising the county-seat had fallen to Ebenezer
King, Jr., in the apportionment of land among the stockholders of the Connecticut
Land Company in 1798. On Feb. 22, 1800, he deeded to Ephriam Quinby 441 acres at
the rate of $3.68 1/2 an acre. Later in the same year, Ephriam Quinby had that portion
of his land located on the east side of the Mahoning River surveyed into town lots and
donated the public square to the village. The town was given the name of Warren as a
compliment to Moses Warren, of Lyme, Conn., one of the first surveyors on the
Reserve. "The capitol city consisted of a dozen log cabins surrounded by a wall of
trees, with here and there a gate opening to a distant settlement." The first cabin in
Warren was built by William Fenton in 1798 and the second by Captain Ephriam
Quinby in 1799.
That Turhand Kirtland had already gained a reputation as a man of importance on the
Reserve is shown by the fact that he was appointed one of the five Justices of the
quorum by Governor St. Clair at the time he organized the Reserve as Trumbull
These Justices of the Peace were the sole law dispensers and constituted the general
court of the county. Those designated as the "quorum" taking a higher rank, while the
remainder were associate Justices. "In this body was vested the entire civil
jurisdiction of the county, local and legislative as well as judicial." They met four
times a year, hence were known as "the court of quorum sessions." Governor St. Clair
directed the sheriff to call a meeting of this body at Warren, Aug. 25, 1800, and in a
session which lasted five days, the foundation was laid for law and order in the new
county of Trumbull. The court room on that day was a bower of native trees standing
between two large corn cribs on the farm of Captain Quinby on Main street (near the
present location of the Erie R. R. station). A synopsis of the record of this session is
preserved in the handwriting of Judge Pease, a brother-in-law of Hon. Gideon
Granger, of Suffield, Conn., the then Postmaster-General of the United States. It read
Trumbull County August term 1 800 ss.
Court of general quarter sessions of the peace begun and holden, at Warren, within
and for the said county of Trumbull, on the fourth Monday of August, in the year of
our Lord, 1800, and of the independence of the United States the twenty-fifth.
Present, John Young, Turhand Kirtland, Camden Cleveland James Kingsbury,
Eliphalet Austin, Esquires.
CALVIN PEASE, Clerk.
Some interesting incidents of this year from the diary of Judge Kirtland are given in
"The Mahoning Valley Historical Collections" by his son, Dr. Jared P. Kirtland:
July 1 , 1 800— John Atkins, an old salt, returned to Poland with a mail from Pittsburgh,
the then nearest post office. There he obtained two lemons from another sailor who
had turned pack-horse man. Turhand Kirtland and Atkins immediately started, with
the lemons in charge, for Burton, and probably the first lemons on the Western
July 4-The good people of Burton and others from Connecticut, assembled on the
green, forty-two in number, partook of a good dinner, and drank the usual patriotic
toasts then the president of the day, Turhand Kirtland, caused the lemons to be mixed
in a milk-pan of punch, when he offered and drank as a toast, "Here's to our wives
and sweethearts at home." The vessel of punch and the toast passed around the table
till at length it came to a Mr. B., who a few weeks before, had fled from a Xanthippe
of a wife in New England, to obtain a little respite, and had joined the surveying
party; he promptly responded thus to the toast: "Here's to our sweethearts at home,
but the D 1 take the wives."
July 23— Turhand Kirtland had partially recovered from an attack of fever and ague.
He went from Poland to Youngstown to get his horse shod; was required to blow and
strike for the smith. This threw him into an aggravated relapse of the disorder which
was at length cured by taking teaspoonful doses of the bark every hour. He adds: "I
found that Joseph M'Mahon and the people of Warren had killed two Indians at Salt
Springs, on Sunday, 20th, in a hasty and inconsiderate manner; and they had sent
after a number (of Indians) that had gone off, in order to hold a conference at Esq.
Young's and had sent for an interpreter to attend, who arrived this day, in company
with an Indian chief and his lady on horseback."
July 30— Went to Youngstown (from Poland) to attend the conference with the
Indians on account of the murder of two of their principal men at Salt Springs, on
Sunday. 20th. by Joseph M'Mahon and Storer. We assembled about three hundred
(whites) and ten Indians, had a very friendly talk, and agreed to make peace and live
as friends. Monday. August 25th— Went to Warren, met the judges and justices of the
county, when they all took the oaths of office and proceeded to open the Courts of
Quarter Sessions and Common Pleas, appointed constables, and summoned eighteen
grand jurors. Bills of indictment found against Joseph M'Mahon and Richard Storer
August 27, 28, 29th— Spent in hearing proposals viewing the ground and affixing on a
place for the seat of Justice in Warren. Many places were mentioned but the east side
of the Mahoning near Esq. Quinby's house was determined upon by the Court, the
court adjourned at noon. I rode to Burton.
Sunday. September 14th— Sample (of Pittsburgh) the counsel for M'Mahon went on to
Youngstown. The prisoner is on the way from M'Intosh (Beaver) with the sheriff, and
an escort of twenty- five troops from the garrison at Pittsburgh to guard him to
Warren, where a court is to he held on Thursday for his trial for the murder of Captain
George and Spotted John (Indians) at Salt Springs.
Wednesday. September 17th— Went to court at Warren. (Return J.) Meigs and Gilman
the judges. Messrs. Edwards. Pease. (George) Tod, Tappan (of Ravenna) and Abbott
admitted as counsellors-at-law by this court.
Thursday, September 1 8th— Prisoner (M'Mahon) brought in traverse jury summoned:
Friday, September 19th— witnesses examined:
Saturday, September 20th— case argued; verdict acquittal.
Another incident of this year occurs in Harvey Rice's "Pioneers of the Western
Reserve." John Blackburn and Nancy Bryan desired to be married before the
departure of the surveyors from Poland in the fall of 1 800 and requested Turhand
Kirtland to perform the ceremony. Mr. Rice states:
"He yielded to the force of circumstances and consented to officiate. A stool covered
with a white tablecloth and a prayer book (Episcopal) lying upon it was brought and
placed before him. As he was about to proceed a guest proposed that the whisky
bottle should first be passed around, which was done; and while the party was
engaged in taking a hurried sip of the 'O-be-joyfuf someone mischievously inclined
purloined the prayer book which contained the formula to be used in solemnizing
marriages. Kirtland, though somewhat disconcerted, appreciated the situation,
directed the happy pair to stand up before him and take each other by the hand, when
he asked, 'Are you agreed to become man and wife?' They responded 'Yes.' 'Then,'
said he, 'I pronounce you henceforth man and wife and bid you go on your way
The use of liquor by the pioneers was so general that they deemed it parsimony,
approaching wickedness, to neglect to offer it to a guest or limit the quantity. "It was
free as water in the harvest field, clearing and cabin, at public dinners and on election
days." It was employed in the mechanic arts, such as bam raisings, and became the
standard of value and medium of exchange, and was used in almost all transactions.
Masons, in the earlier days, considered liquid refreshments as necessary to a
convocation as a room to meet in, and the Steward's bills of the early lodges often
show payment for cider, mm, brandy and whisky. It was not until about 1830 that a
reaction began to take place on the Reserve and temperance societies were organized.
The Masonic lodges were one of the first social organizations to abandon the
common use of ardent spirits.
Of the annual journeys from Old Connecticut, one record states that in the spring of
1801, "probably a merrier set of men never crossed the mountains and found their
way through the wilderness," than that composed of John Kinsman, the pioneer settler
of Kinsman, and with him Ebenezer Reeves, General Simon Perkins, Calvin Pease,
"who as Judge, citizen and companion had no superior"; George Tod, one of the
ablest jurists of Trumbull County; Josiah Pelton. the pioneer of Gustavius; John Stark
Edwards, and Turhand and his brother, Jared Kirtland. This party organized itself into
a society called "The Illuminati." All were titled, and in addressing each other the
titles were frequently used. When they stopped for the night, mock trials were held
and thus they beguiled the tediousness of their journey. The party continued together
as far as Youngstown where they separated.
There were on the Reserve at this time less than 1500 inhabitants. In the diary of Bro.
Joseph Badger, known over the Reserve as "Father Badger," the statement is made
that he visited Warren in January of 1801 and "was received courteously by Mr. John
Levitt and family. I preached here on the Sabboth. In this place were eleven families
and one in Howland." In the month of July he records that "on Monday visited
Cleveland, in which were only two families. Here I fell in company with Judge
Kirtland. We rode from here to Painesville; found on the way, in Euclid, one family
and in Chagrin one; in Mentor four, and in Painesville two families."
In the year 1803, Turhand Kirtland decided to make his permanent home on the
Reserve, and in the spring brought his family by way of Pennsylvania and settled in
Poland. Contrary to expectation it was the inland and not the lake shore villages
which at first prospered. The settlers desired the higher and drier land and avoided the
colder, windy regions about Lake Erie. Thus in the first three years of white
occupation, the southeast comer of the Reserve close to the Pennsylvania line grew
rapidly and Youngstown, Canfield, Poland and Warren developed into healthy
villages, and by 1810 the latter led all the Western Reserve villages in size and
Regarding the Fourth of July celebration of that year (1803), Bro. John S. Edwards
I was at Warren on the 4th of July where I attended a ball. You may judge my
surprise at meeting a considerable company, all of whom were dressed in neatness in
fashion, some of them would have been admired for their ease and grace in a New
Haven ball room. It was held on the same spot where four years since there was
scarcely the trace of a human hand or anywhere within fifteen miles of it. We
improved well the occasion; began at two in the afternoon of Monday and left the
room a little before sunrise in Tuesday morning. We dance but seldom, which is our
In this year is found the record of the first school in Warren, this being a log building
on the river bank west of the square and on about the same site as the present
Monumental Park. On Sept. 3 the present First Baptist Church was organized, under
the name of the "Concord Baptist-Church," being the first religious body organized in
the village. Later in the same year, Nov. 18, the First Presbyterian Church was
organized. Judge Kirtland speaks of stopping at Adgate's and Quinby's, in Warren,
but neither of these men opened regular taverns, "they merely entertained strangers
with such fare as they had themselves." Bro. John Leavitt opened in 1803 the first
regular tavern which was located on the corner where the Second National Bank
building now stands, and was for many years the principal stopping place in the
— o —
Nolichucky Jack and the Mountain Men
By BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART
IT was a bright, cloudless day in the latter part of September, 1780. The "Tall
Watauga Boys" were holding a field day at the home of Colonel John Sever,
sometimes called "Nolichucky Jack," from the name of the stream which ran through
his fertile plantation. The wild, uncouth backwoodsmen, settlers in that tract of virgin
forest discovered by Daniel Boone and claimed by North Carolina, were disporting
themselves according to the forms and usages employed by their ancestors for
At a little distance a series of whiplike reports indicated that a rifle contest was going
on; a contest with the long Deckhard, a weapon with which each had to be familiar if
he were to preserve inviolate on his head the hair that nature had caused to grow, or to
protect the lives of those under his care. The Cherokee country lay but a short
distance toward the south.
Yet a little further away shrill yells, encouraging calls, the pounding of hoofs, gave
evidence that horse racing was being practiced. A group of old men whose eyes had
grown too dim to longer sight along the rifle barrel, and whose bodies were too much
troubled with the pangs of rheumatism to render horse racing attractive, were engaged
in the ancient and honorable game of pitching horseshoes. At various fires scattered
about the fields men were tending roasting oxen, and the pungent odor of burning
flesh was wafted by the breeze to the nostrils of groups of women whose faces almost
invariably showed lines of care, irrespective of age. Bands of shrieking children, all
care discarded for the joy of the present, raced across the greensward, hid behind
bushes or splashed through little streams in imitation of Indian warfare, of which they
had heard much and experienced not a little.
On the porch of a rather pretentious house sat a man of perhaps thirty-five smoking a
long-stemmed pipe and watching the animated scene with positive enjoyment.
Known as the handsomest man in Tennessee, Jack Sever's actual appearance did not
belie his reputation, six feet tall he was, light haired, blue eyed, graceful, with an
engaging smile, his courage famed in that land where all were supposed to be brave; a
man full of energy, he was respected by his fellows and admired by the women. A
natural leader of men was Colonel John Sever.
His family was of French extraction, but had now been American for Several
generations. Being possessed of some wealth, John Sever had crossed the mountain
wall in 1772 and settled in the valley of the Watauga in what is now Eastern
Tennessee. Here, for reasons which have been already noted, and for many others, he
became the dominating spirit of that remote settlement. An Indian fighter of repute,
he led thirty four expeditions against the Indians and was never defeated. He was later
to be the governor of the short-lived state of Franklin, then the first Governor of
Tennessee for six terms. Representative to Congress, General of the Militia, Surveyor
for the Government, worthy brother Master Mason, he died with his boots on in 1815,
after a long life devoted to the service of his fellow men.
His first wife died in 1774, and two years later, while engaged in a campaign against
the Indians who had been incited to war by the British, he won his second companion.
A party of women and children had strayed too far from the fort and had been
attacked by the savages. As they rushed shrieking from the forest, Sever manned the
walls of his fort with riflemen to cover the retreat. In a perfect frenzy of fear a young
girl sprang to the top of the palisade, scrambled over the wall and fell into the arms of
the handsome commander. Here she afterwards abode as his wife. By his first wife
Sever had two sons; by the second wife, Katherine Sherrill, he became the father of
Now on this beautiful day of September, 1780, while "Nolichucky Jack" was smoking
his pipe and gazing with complacency upon the scene before him, a horseman
suddenly broke from the forest, spurred his mount over a rail fence and brought the
sweating animal to a sliding halt before the house of Sever. The rider, a man of about
thirty with undeniable marks of Welch ancestry, sprang from his trembling steed and
rushed up the steps of the porch. Sever advanced to meet him.
"And how's my old friend Isaac Shelby ?" said the colonel as he extended his hand.
"Well, I should think by the looks, although obviously a little flustered. What's the
trouble, Isaac? Another Indian raid?"
Shelby threw himself into a chair. "Worse than that— perhaps," he puffed. "Ferguson's
advanced to the eastern edge of the mountains and threatens to come over and make
us a call." He smiled queerly. "Ah !" Colonel Sever's blue eyes narrowed; he knocked
the ashes from his pipe. "How did you learn this, Shelby?"
"Ferguson released a prisoner and sent him over the mountains with a message to the
effect that if we don't desist from our opposition to the king and take protection under
his standard, he will march his army over the mountains, hang our leaders and lay
waste our country with fire and sword."
"Is that all?" Sever was smiling now.
"Good Lord!" snorted Shelby, "isn't that enough?"
"It's too much," announced Sever. "Far too much. Ferguson is full of the pride that
goeth before a fall. It may be that the Mountain Men will yet teach him a lesson." He
sat down again and reflectively began to refill his pipe. Speedily his massive head
became almost concealed by clouds of tobacco smoke. Shelby watched him
Then with sudden resolution Colonel John Sever sprang to this feet, cast aside his
pipe, advanced to the rail of the porch and called in powerful tones to the people who
were scattered for many rods about the house and out-buildings. Swiftly the men left
their sports and strode toward him, their long rifles in their hands, the tails of their
coon skin caps flapping against their fringed hunting jackets. The women came too—
women on whose faces the lines of care and horror were already beginning to deepen,
The crowd gathered about the porch and looked expectantly up into the face of their
"Men of Watauga," began Sever, "on the sixteenth of last month the army of General
Gates was defeated and almost annihilated at the battle of Camden. A few days later
General Sumter's force was surprised and dispersed. South Carolina is at the feet of
the enemy who now aspire to conquer the old North State also. A force under Major
Patrick Ferguson has advanced almost to the foot of the mountain wall, sweeping all
before it. Ferguson has perhaps one hundred and twenty regulars; the rest of his force
are Tories —men who should naturally be our countrymen, but who are too craven to
fight for liberty. Besides," the colonel paused and smiled, "the gold of the king has
called to them. In all, Ferguson has about twelve hundred men."
The crowd in front of the porch stirred restlessly. Men handled their rifles. The
women gazed up at the bearded faces of their mates.
"And now," went on "Nolichucky Jack," as he allowed his eyes to rove appraisingly
over his audience, "Ferguson sends us word that unless we cease our efforts against
the Indians, whom the king in his might has seen fit to rouse, and refrain from
sending any more of our riflemen across the mountains, he will march to our
settlements, hang our leaders and ravage our territory with fire and sword. Men of
Watauga, what say you to the challenge of the prideful Briton? Shall we send him
word that in the future we will remain in our settlements as peaceable subjects of the
king, acknowledging that, in spite of his Cherokees and his Tories, the king can do no
A roar of anger rose from the crowd. Rifles were shaken fiercely in the air. Even the
eyes of the women, fit mates for the border warriors, flashed and their normally pale
cheeks took on the flush of rage.
"Or shall we," Seiver's voice thundered, "march to the relief of our beaten brothers of
the plains, crush Ferguson and hurl back the tide of invasion from our borders ?"
The uproar was now deafening. Sever had cast his seed on fertile soil. Many young
men sprang on the backs of their horses and charged wildly about the fields. From all
rose the fierce cry, "March against Ferguson! Down with the British and Tories!"
Sever again raised his hand. Silence fell upon the crowd. "The rendezvous," he
shouted, "will be at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, the twenty-fifth of this month.
Spread the alarm as your ancestors did in the highlands of old Scotland. Spread the
alarm! And now, my friends, disperse."
As soon as the crowd had gone, Sever sent an express to Colonel MacDowelf who
with a small band of North Carolina militia had been driven over the mountains by
Ferguson. Shelby secured a fresh horse from the stables of Sever and dashed away to
alarm Colonel Campbell of Virginia, who with many followers had settled about the
headwaters of the Holston River. Other messengers were dispatched to Colonel
Benjamin Cleaveland and lesser leaders, while Sever himself undertook to rally the
On the appointed day the clan began to come to the rendezvous. Nearly five hundred
men of the Watauga, including the two sons of Colonel Sever, were on hand and were
promptly divided into two regiments, one of which was commanded by Colonel
Shelby, the other by Sever himself. One hundred and sixty men under MacDowell, a
Master Mason, came riding up on their rangy horses, while four hundred hunting-shirt
men under William Campbell and his brother, Arthur Campbell, swelled the force.
Singly and in small groups others drifted to the camp until well over a thousand hardy
backwoodsmen had arrived. None knew the slightest thing about military tactics, but
all were inured to hardships, were expert marksmen, and fear abode in the breast of
none. Furthermore, the campaign against the Indians had made them, in a way,
It is a remarkable fact that of those Revolutionary heroes who achieved fame in the
various Southern campaigns of that struggle, practically all were Master Masons. The
paucity of records of that period make it impossible to tell when many of these
distinguished brethren were raised, but it is conceded that the following were Masons:
Colonel Moultrie, the hero of Fort Sullivan; Generals Sumter, Marion and Pickens;
Major William Washington, the famous cavalryman; Light Horse Harry Lee; Colonel
Smallwood, of the indomitable Maryland Line; General Nathaniel Green; Baron
DeKalb; General Nelson; Colonel Otto Williams; the following four upon whose
shoulders later rested the purple of the Fraternity: Colonels Mordecai Gist and
Richard Caswell, Generals William R. Davie and James Jackson. Then, in the
expedition that we are about to describe, the following leaders were of the Craft:
Colonel Sever, MacDowell and Hambright, Captain Lenoir. General Benjamin
Lincoln was not made a Mason until 1781, long after he was forced to surrender at
Concerning the MacDowell family, Lossing, who quotes Mrs. Ellet's "Women of the
Revolution," says: "The MacDowells were all brave men. Joseph and William, the
brothers of Charles, were with him in the battle of King's Mountain. Their mother,
Ellen MacDowell, was a woman of remarkable energy. Mrs. Ellet relates that on one
occasion some marauders carried off some property during the absence of her
husband. She assembled her neighbors, started in pursuit and recovered her property.
When her husband was secretly making gunpowder in a cave, she burned the charcoal
for the purpose upon her own hearth and carried it to him. Some of the powder thus
manufactured was used in the battle of King's Mountain."
And now that the clans had gathered upon the Watauga, a serious question presented
itself: Who would stay to guard the settlements from the Indians waiting their chance
to make another bloody raid? Only by resorting to lottery did the men decide who
should remain behind; all wanted to go on the march against Ferguson.
On the morning of Sept. 26 the expedition was ready to start. A preacher stood forth
and invoked divine blessing upon those who were to go forth to battle against the
mighty and the workers of iniquity. With bowed heads the bearded Mountain Men
listened reverently to the invocation, then mounting their horses, rode away to turn
back the red wave that threatened to engulf them. Up, up, toward the summit of the
mountain range they traveled, through forests whose foliage was beginning to
empurple in the frosts of autumn, along precipitous paths where far below could be
heard the murmur of turbulent streams. There was no baggage train; each man carried
a supply of parched corn and a quantity of jerked meat. Also a few beeves were
driven along to be slaughtered in due season. Occasionally a rifle would echo among
the wild crags and a hunter eventually return to the main column with a deer hanging
over his saddle bow. Soon they were joined by Colonel Cleaveland with his
detachment, and on the last day of the month three hundred and fifty men from the
counties of Wilkes and Surrey were added to the army. The next day it rained, and the
mountain streams were swollen to rushing torrents that impeded the progress. In some
of the higher passes deep snow was found.
They now decided to elect a general leader for the whole expedition, and eventually
decided upon Colonel Campbell, of Virginia, who was to command until such time as
General Gates should send a general officer. Colonel MacDowell was sent to inform
Gates of the raid and to request that an experienced officer be sent.
Descending the eastern slope of the range at last, the army came to the region of the
Cowpens, later to be rendered famous by Bro. Morgan, the Old Wagoner General.
Here it was joined by detachments of militia under Bro. Hambright, Colonels Lacey
and Williams. Many of the recruits, however, were unmounted. As speed was the
prime requisite, it was now advocated that from the whole force of over eleven
hundred men, nine hundred of the best mounted be selected to make a forced march
toward Ferguson, who was understood to be at King's Mountain, just south of the
North Carolina line. This plan was speedily adopted, although fifty foot soldiers
resolved to keep up with the column if possible.
Ferguson, after sweeping at will over the country, rallying Tories to the cause of the
king, drilling them and adding them to his army, had learned that the men from
beyond the mountains had risen and were on his trail. Knowing something of the
character of these hardy fighters, he had retreated to a place that he felt offered
sanctuary for the time being, and had sent an express to Cornwallis at Charlotte
asking for help. His messenger was, however, intercepted.
King's Mountain, one of the Allegheny system, is a spur perhaps fifteen miles in
length, running almost due north and south. Ferguson had encamped at the extreme
southern point of this ridge on an elevation that constituted a hill by itself. The sides
of this hill are precipitous and covered with trees, while the summit, more or less
level, is covered with large stones and masses of rock. These rocks formed a natural
barricade for the defenders of the hill.
Major Ferguson was a member of a distinguished Scotch family and had entered the
military service at the age of eighteen. Joining the British Army in America in 1777,
he served with distinction at Brandywine, Camden and other engagements. He
commanded the Seventy-first regulars, about one hundred and twenty of whom
accompanied him on the King's Mountain raid. The remainder of his army was made
up of Tories whom he had drilled until he rated them equal to regulars. His whole
force waiting on the hill for the attack was composed of between eleven and twelve
hundred men, considerably out-numbering his opponents, but, for this particular kind
of warfare, inferior to them. Ferguson himself was a crack shot with the rifle and is
said to have been the inventor of a breechloading piece. His second in command was
Captain De Peyster, a scion of a prominent Tory family of New York.
At nine o'clock on the night of Oct. 6, 1780, Colonel Campbell's little army of
mounted borderers set out from Cowpens for King's Mountain, over thirty miles
distant. The night was intensely dark, for a chilly autumnal rain had set in, adding
greatly to the discomfort of the men and rendering it difficult for them to keep the
priming dry in their rifles. All night long the column plodded through the inky
darkness, the only sound being the squashing of the horse's hoofs in the soft mud and
the patter of the rain on the withered leaves.
Just as the gloomy dawn came up they reached the Catawba River at Cherokee Ford.
And now the :rain fell much harder than before. Without halting, the riders continued
their march, and about noon the sun broke through the clouds, the rain stopped, and
all nature shone as though in garments new and of wondrous texture. The spirits of
the men rose.
And now a woman ran out of a farmhouse, stared for a moment at the column. "How
many men have you ? ' she asked Campbell.
"Enough to whip Ferguson," gruffly returned the grizzled old fighter. "Where is he,
The woman pointed toward a hill about three miles away. "He's there," she said, and
ran back into the house. Again the long line of drenched horsemen advanced, their
eyes ever on the hill which rose perhaps one hundred feet above the surrounding
country. Smoke could be seen drifting over the trees; a distant bugle call rang faintly
through the air.
It was about two o'clock when the Americans arrived as near to the hill as they dared
go before forming their line of battle. They dismounted behind a patch of woods and
tied their horses to the trees. It was decided that Shelby, Williams and Lacey should
attack on the left; Cleaveland, Hambright and Winston on the north; Campbell, Sever
and MacDowell on the right. They had reason to believe that Ferguson had not yet
observed their arrival. The orders were simple: the men were to swarm up the sides of
the hill, yell fiercely and fire deliberately. If forced to retire before the British bayonet
(for the Mountain Men had no bayonets), they were to retreat only far enough to
evade the charge, then return promptly to the combat. The columns moved toward
their respective locations.
About the leggins of the men the wet grass clung, while from the dripping trees
miniature showers fell before the autumnal breeze. The slanting rays of the afternoon
sun gleamed on rifle barrel and handle of hunting knife. And now on the hill in front a
musket roared. A drum began its stirring call; hoarse shouts; the shrill piping of a
whistle; the sheen of scarlet among the yellow leaves.
"Forward !" shouted the leaders of the Mountain Men, and led the riflemen up the
On the ridge above Shelby's men there suddenly burst forth a musket volley. Lead
thumped the sides of the trees about the mountaineers, or sent down showers of twigs
and branches upon their heads, but the damage was slight. The British were aiming
too high. Shelby's men replied slowly and carefully to the fire, only pulling trigger
when they could see a scarlet coat among the rocks.
On the hill the whistle sounded again, a man on a large white horse came galloping
up, waved his sword and led his regulars down the slope in a bayonet charge toward
the Watauga men. And now the rifles spat with a vengeance. Many of the redcoats
fell, and the bodies came rolling and bumping down the steep, or brought up in
grotesque attitudes against the roots of the trees. But the rest came lunging down,
their bayonets gleaming wickedly, looks of grim hate, not unmixed with fear, upon
their scowling faces. "At them, men !' roared Ferguson. "Give 'em the cold steel."
Reluctantly Shelby's men were forced to give ground; so reluctantly that some were
bayoneted where they stood. The rest, turning to fire as rapidly as they could reload
their long rifles, fell back to the foot of the hill.
A crashing volley came from the woods to the north. Ferguson was flanked by the
men of Williams. The Britons fell back to the summit of the slope. De Peyster led his
Tories at Williams and forced him to recoil, while again the flanking rifle fire broke
out. Only just beyond reach of the bayonet did the Mountain Men retire, then when
pressure from the flanks relieved them they returned to the fray with redoubled
And now Bro. Sever and his Watauga men. yelling like demons, swarmed up the
slope and attained the summit, taking position among the rocks. Again the shrill
whistle sounded and Ferguson drove his white horse in a charge of regulars against
the position of Sever. But the position was too strong; "Nolichucky Jack" and his men
could not be dislodged. Over their rifle sights the borderers marked the trimmings on
the scarlet coats of their adversaries, and terrible was the toll taken by the long
Deckhards. The drifting powder smoke, the falling leaves and the excitement of the
fight rendered the aim of the mountaineers more uncertain than usual, else the force
of Major Ferguson would speedily have been annihilated. As it was, the forms of the
red-clad soldiers and their more soberly garbed companions, the Tories, seemed
strangely distorted and blurred in the battle haze that covered the mountain top where
eleven hundred muskets and nine hundred rifles were creating an uproar heard for
Again and again the heroic Ferguson led his men in wild charges. He but increased
his list of casualties, while the men of the mountains continually returned to the fight,
their yells of triumph rivaling the crackling bursts of their rifle fire.
Gradually the British were forced back to the northern edge of the hill where the men
of Cleaveland, Winston and Bro. Hambright, swarming up the slope, completed the
lines of circumvallation. Bro. Sever led his men from their place among the rocks and
charged upon the enemy, now fast losing their fortitude. The faces of the regulars and
their Tory allies showed white through the powder smoke, and in their eyes was a
look of fear. On all sides the enemy were surrounded, while the Mountain Men
pressed nearer, firing with deliberate aim. On the top of the hill bodies of men lay
thickly scattered. Confusion worse confounded set in. "Quarter ! " someone shouted.
Men ran this way and that. A white flag fluttered for a moment then sank out of sight.
Again the shrill whistle. In a last desperate charge Ferguson led such of his men as
would follow him. A dozen rifles spoke at once. The brave Scotchman swayed in his
saddle, pitched to the ground, while his white horse, snorting in terror, leaped over the
bodies of the slain and crashed down the side of the mountain to liberty.
Again the white flag appeared. "Quarter ! Quarter !" shouted the Tories and regulars.
Many of the Mountain Men did not know the meaning of a white flag and continued
"My God !" shouted De Peyster in tones heard above the crackling of the rifles. "Do
you murder men who have surrendered?"
Campbell sprang in front of his men and threw up many of the rifles. Shelby ran
toward De Peyster, shouting, "Damn you, if you want quarter, ground your arms ! "
Panic stricken, the regulars and Tories threw their weapons on the ground while the
noise of firing died out and the clouds of powder smoke drifted away through the
trees. The battle of King's Mountain was over.
In this close action the Americans lost twenty-eight killed and sixty-two wounded,
among the latter being Bro. Hambright, one of the colonels. According to a statement
signed by Colonels Cleaveland, Shelby and Campbell, the total loss of the British was
eleven hundred and five, divided as follows: Regulars, killed, nineteen; wounded,
thirty-five; prisoners, sixty-eight. Tories, killed, two hundred and six; wounded, one
hundred and twenty-eight; prisoners, six hundred and forty-nine.
In retaliation for outrages by the enemy, Several of the Tories were hanged after the
battle. After having been gone on the raid twenty-eight days, the army of Mountain
Men returned to their homes with the satisfaction of warriors whose work has been
The battle of King's Mountain had a great effect. Cornwallis was alarmed; he recalled
all his small parties, concentrated his force and fell back to South Carolina,
abandoning for the time operations against North Carolina. The great victory of Bro.
Morgan at Cowpens followed not long after this, and Bro. Greene originated the
campaign of movements which had for its ultimate result the liberation of the
Southland from the tread of the invader.
— o —
The Claims of the Modern Operatives
BY BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
WE will now take up the third and last of the three previously mentioned points of
view from which it is possible to criticize the claims of the modern Operatives, and
for this purpose we will now give a brief consideration of the technical secrets
supposed to have been preserved by the gild. The most prominent of these is the
previously mentioned 3-4-5 triangle for obtaining a true right angle, the '"five-point
system" for laying out buildings, the diamond diagram for designing them and the
supposed method used by the builders for raising large stones.
THE SUPPOSED TECHNICAL SECRETS EXAMINED
In regard to the first one it may be said that the '3-4-5 triangle is a convenient method
for setting out a right angle on a large scale, though in most cases the method of
describing arcs of a circle would be just as convenient— in drawing a good deal more
convenient and accurate. For the purpose of making a square, a try-square, it would
be useless. The medieval masons generally, one judges, used wooden squares, and
they may actually have used a carefully squared stone to test and adjust them. But the
most delicate test for a square is to trace a right angle with it on a flat surface and then
reverse its position and draw another from the same starting point. If the square is true
the two lines coincide, if not the amount of error is shown doubled, for each line
varies in opposite directions from the right angle. That such a simple test was not
known to our Operative predecessors is impossible to believe.
Perhaps more has been written about the "five-point system" by advocates of the
Operatives than about any other technicality they are supposed to possess. Briefly this
is the idea that ancient buildings were laid out from a center point. That this point
being chosen, a pair of diagonals were next marked out, and the correct distances
measured from the center along each diagonal in each direction to determine comer
points. This supposed technical procedure is mixed up with foundation sacrifices, of
which, according to the Operative account, there were supposed to be five, one in the
center and one at each corner.
This procedure appears to assume that all buildings were either square in plan, or
oblong in the proportion of three wide to four long, one to two, one to three, or
varying multiples of these numbers. Nothing in reality is more absurd. The pyramids,
it is tme, were built on a square plan, and the Temple of Solomon is said to have been
60x20 cubits— we do not know exactly how it was laid out— but other ancient
buildings, like modern ones, are built on all kinds of different plans to suit the nature
of the site and the purposes of the builders. But first let us dispose of the sacrifices or
foundation deposits. There is little or no evidence for such being placed in the center
of the building, and none at all when in conjunction with corner deposits. That is, the
excavation of old sites has yielded no examples of such a combination. In Egypt four
deposits were quite common, but no center ones have been found. They were placed
sometimes under the corners and sometimes under the threshold of the chief entrance.
In the case of foundation sacrifice one was usually regarded as sufficient, and the
place selected seems to have been more frequently in the wall than at a corner.
However this will lead us too far afield, we are concerned now rather with the
practical utility of the "five point" method. Buildings, as has been remarked, are
usually erected to conform in some way to the site. Some temples, and most old
churches, are oriented, but very seldom with any great exactitude. Buildings in a
town, such as a Gild Hall for example, would have some reference to the street and
neighboring structures. Suppose it was required to lay out the foundations of a church
due east and west. The natural way would be to first get the cardinal points marked
out, and the obvious method would be to set out two stakes north and south sighted at
night by the pole star or by observing the point of sunrise and sunset. From this could
be drawn at right angles (by the 3-4-5 method, or by intersecting arcs, or even by
sighting along a large square) the two lines for the east and west sides of the building
as far apart and as long as has been determined on. To find the appropriate center of
the building in order to lay it out on the five point method would require most of this
procedure to begin with, and when it had been found no practical advantage would
have been gained. In fact, unless a few set proportions depending on the 3-4-5 ratio
were used, the only way to get the exact length of diagonal required would be by an
arithmetical extraction of the square root of the sum of the squares of the side and
end, a thing that only a very few mathematicians could do in the Middle Ages. An
actual acquaintance with medieval buildings impresses even the casual observer with
the fact that the last thing the craftsman worried about was exact measurements. He
built churches easterly and westerly rather than due east and west; they were more or
less the same width throughout, often less rather than more; the span of the arches is
rarely exactly the same; the angles of the corners seem frequently to have been laid
out by eye rather than by measurement; in short, he was an artist and he knew by
instinct that the eye cannot judge angles in a building and that nothing gives a more
dead and monotonous effect than exact equality of parts. The same observation of the
actual structures disposes of the supposed "diamond" rule for designing their
elevations. Here and there a building more or less fits some such scheme, but as a
whole we can only come to the conclusion that the architect, or master of the work,
first drew a sketch, and when its proportions pleased him he made an outline drawing
of it without reference to any special ratios, and that the minor detail was devised by
the craftsmen themselves as they went along.
THE MECHANICAL APPLIANCES USED
Among other things the Operatives profess to have preserved in their traditions is the
methods by which the enormous stones in some ancient (not medieval) buildings
were raised into position. One hardly knows how to begin to criticise these.
Theoretically, in the diagram given, the counterpoise weights will balance that to be
lifted, but the form of apparatus used is most impractical. Two defects appear at once,
the enormous shear effect on the two pivot pins that have to support not only the load
but the balance weights as well, and the weakening of the two arms by boring holes
through them at the very point where the greatest strength is required. A much more
practicable method, using exactly the same principle, would be the very simple one
adopted by any gang of workmen today, of using long levers to pry up each end
alternately, blocking it up as it was raised.
There is one more point of a technical character, though it is not dwelt on as an
Operative trade secret, and that is the curious division of the craft into two entirely
separate classes of masons, arch and square men. And by the way we have here
another of those disturbing reminiscences. The term "Square-men" was (and perhaps
is) a Scottish technical name including the tradesmen who are also called "wrights,"
which are very much the same as those included by name in the present Operative
Society (though not, as we have seen, members of it in fact) under the head of rough
masons, tilers, slaters, etc., with the addition, however, of carpenters and joiners and
mill-wrights. But the term is also used at the present day in England, especially in
country places and in the North, by Speculative Masons to describe themselves. In
fact it takes somewhat the same place as the American phrase of being "on the
square." While on the other side the term "Arch-masons" seems almost, if it might be
an attempt to give an explanation of the question that has been so much discussed by
Masonic students, of the first rise and original use of the term "Arch" as a distinctive
title. One theory being that it had the sense of a superior grade, as in Arch-bishop or
Archduke. Be this as it may, the Operative's claim is that the trade has always been
divided into two, one set of men learning only how to cut and lay squared stones, and
the other knowing only how to cut stones for arches and vaults and the methods of
erecting them. It is, of course, not impossible that at the present day, under trades-
union influences perhaps, that some such specialization has grown up. The present
writer remembers to have been told by an elderly bricklayer, who was apprenticed to
his trade in a small English country town, that "there were few men who knew their
trade now-a-days." He said he was taught how to do every kind of brick work, arch
work, ornamental work, cut work and the rest, but that the ordinary tradesman today
can only lay a plain wall and corners, and that everything out of the usual run has to
be done by special men. Some such development may have come about among stone
masons as well, but it is as certain as anything can be that such divisions are not old.
Take the work of the alleged "Arch-masons." The stones required are wedge shaped,
they will generally have the narrow end cut to the curve of the arch, while back and
front they have parallel flat surfaces. If a man can lay out and cut two parallel flat
surfaces he can certainly cut a square wall stone or a "perpend ashlar." If he does not,
it is because he will not, which is not Medieval Masonry but modem trades-unionism.
The Freemason of the Middle Ages was more than a mere trades- a man, he could not
only cut the stones but he made his own designs and templets— the "mould squares"
spoken of in the Old Charges. As a matter of fact the cutting of square stones and
plain voussoirs was the most elementary part of his work, and in fact mere child's
play to planning and cutting the elaborate mouldings and tracery which are used so
lavishly in medieval buildings, and in which the builders evidently so delighted. Such
a contention as this seems to show an utter lack of comprehension of the original
mason craft and its essential characteristics.
With this goes the further curious assumption that setting the stones is more skilled
work than cutting them. It would be perhaps a little dogmatic to say it was exactly the
reverse. Still judging by modem practice, and certain clauses in the MS.
Constitutions, one would judge that then as now there was a tendency to employ half-
trained men— layers— cowans— in building the walls, having skilled men to set the
corners and the more important features. But as soon as we remember the mouldings
and the carving with which even dwelling houses were adorned, the point becomes
comparatively unimportant. Ashlar work and setting demanded only elementary
manual skill, the real secrets —incommunicable in fact— of the Freemason was his
artistic power, his ability to design and to work out his designs in the mde stone.
In conclusion we may touch on Bro. Stretton's own story, remembering that all
accounts of this Operative system seem to go back to him. He tells us that as a youth
he was apprenticed in a large engineering works in the North of England. He was
what is known in that country as a "gentleman" apprentice. In a large plant of this
kind there are skilled men of many different trades— fitters, machinists, boiler makers,
pattern makers, blacksmiths and foundry men, and apparently also in this particular
instance, stone masons as well. Boys are of course apprenticed to all these separate
trades, but the "gentleman apprentice" who is destined to be an engineer has to work
at each one long enough to get some idea of that special kind of work. Stretton in due
course was put into the stone yard with another apprentice, but the men would have
nothing to do with them, interfered with their work and refused to show them
anything. He says he found out by inquiry that he would have to join their own
private organization in order to learn anything, and this he agreed to do; and he
asserts that he was initiated into Operative Masonry and eventually passed through all
its grades. Now this on the face of it is rather curious, for he was not apprenticed as a
stone mason but as an engineer. He could not therefore have joined them on the
Operative status for he was not free, he was learning other trades as well, and besides
that, no one in the organization was his employer. But on the other hand he was not
strictly an honorary member, for he did actually work in the stone yard, and learned to
some extent the technical processes of the craft.
The present writer remembers to have been told years ago by an English engineer that
during his apprenticeship he one day during the noon hour climbed up the scaffolding
of some new buildings being erected in the plant, and that the bricklayers came on to
work again before he went down. The men were very unpleasant and insisted that he
would have to "pay his footing." He found the situation rather unpleasant, some
seventy feet from the ground on a couple of narrow planks, and his retreat cut off by
the hostile workmen. However a few shillings given them to buy beer changed the
whole atmosphere, and afterwards he was welcome to climb up whenever he pleased.
No doubt Stretton had some such experience. It is very possible even that some form
of ceremony was performed, but this need not have been ancient and traditional.
Many of the earlier trades unions had initiatory ceremonies such as Bro. Springett has
described for us in his recent article. The question arises and has to be faced, did Bro.
Stretton invent the whole system, building it on some such foundation in fact as has
just been suggested?
It is the opinion of many of the foremost Masonic scholars in England that he did, and
that conclusion has been reached after serious investigation. Stretton did his best to
win as many converts as possible. The brother to whom he wrote the letters above
mentioned was prevailed on to apply for admission into the modern society, and his
indentures were even made out and are in the same file with the letters; but he became
convinced of the baselessness of the claims and they were never completed. It may be
said that Bro. Yarker was converted and apparently joined them, as have a good many
more of the Fraternity. Unfortunately, though Yarker was a scholar and a very well
read and erudite one, yet, in the words of one who knew him, "he was no judge of
The question further arises, supposing it was all invention, what are we to think of the
inventor? If he had been a scholar such a mystification and manufacture of evidence
would be of course quite unpardonable. But Bro. Stretton was not a scholar. He was
doubtless a competent engineer, but from his letters one is forced to the conclusion
that he could not have been, outside of his profession, a specially well educated man.
There is no question here of unworthy or sordid motives, it was no attempt to make
money by false pretenses, rather he seems more likely to have spent money to keep
the thing going. One may judge he was doing what the founders of the Mystic Shrine
and the Grotto did, and earlier still those who founded the Scottish Rite, and those
who before that invented the various separate degrees and orders of which the latter is
composed, only he was not content with a legend of antiquity but went on and tried to
make it real, tried doubtless to re-construct what he thought Operative Masonry
originally was, and then to pass it off as having continuously existed.
In this again he was only following an unfortunate precedent. It is most probable that
the chief difficulties in the way of discovering where and when and how, for example,
the Royal Arch came into being, is due to like mystification on the part of its founder
or founders. We may suppose in the present case that the intention was innocent and
harmless, and that having once started the inventor found no place to get off and just
had to keep on going.
(1) Transactions of the Authors Lodge, p. 191, London 1915.
(2) These lectures were in MS. and belonged to the old Lodge of Lights. The
whereabouts of the original is not now known. In their particular form these lectures
can be dated by a reference, dragged in quite ridiculously, to Sir Peter Parker, who
was Deputy Grand Master from 1787 to 1802.
— o —
Impressions of Freemasonry in Spain
By BRO. GRANVILLE T. ZOHRAB, Ferrol, Spain
IT is with some difficulty and not without a certain degree of misgiving that I write
down my observations of Freemasonry as practiced in Spain. These impressions must
of necessity be somewhat limited both in character and substance owing to the
difficulty of obtaining authentic and reliable information on the subject. However, I
trust that what I have gathered may prove of interest to those seeking information
regarding the Masonic life and activity in the Spanish Peninsula, and at the same time
I ask your indulgence for any literary imperfections.
In the first place I think it would be wise to explain that I have the pleasure and
privilege to belong to a lodge holding a charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. It
is perhaps unfortunate that this Grand Lodge does not recognize the Grand Orient of
Spain, one reason being on account of its governing body being a Council of the 33rd
Degree, Scottish Rite; therefore our opportunities of becoming acquainted with
Spanish brethren is from a lodge point of view rather remote. Judging however by the
observations I have been able to make during the last few years I cannot say that
Freemasonry in Spain is in a healthy condition; the government appears to hold a
tight grip on everything Masonic, preventing as far as possible anything which would
tend to encourage, expand and strengthen the institution. For example, some years
ago a government order was issued which had the effect of closing nearly all the
lodges in the country working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Spain.
Their reason for so doing does not appear to have been made clear, but it is suggested
that political and religious propaganda and intrigue in Masonic lodges in the southern
provinces of the country may have been responsible for the strong action taken by the
government. There is no doubt that this blow, which aimed at the very heart of
Spanish Freemasonry, was severely felt by the fraternity, and only a remnant is left of
the many lodges previously working, and these only continue under strict supervision
of the police who are liable to raid and close them at any time. Still in spite of these
misfortunes Masonic influence is by no means; dead, and although its life and
activities are at the moment at a very low ebb it continues to be fed by Spanish
brethren initiated abroad who return to their homeland, especially those who come
from Havana and Cuba, the influence of these last being felt at times in no uncertain
To my mind there is a great field for work in Spain for those who dig in the quarries,
and as education progresses so surely will Masonic influence manifest itself. I have
had the pleasure of meeting many Spanish Freemasons in various towns and villages
that I have visited, but as a rule they are difficult to find, their "due guard" is real
indeed, many of them being fearful as to whom they reveal themselves; nevertheless
it has been unmistakably borne in on me that their Masonry has a strong and abiding
influence for good among them, which must some day illuminate their sphere of
action and redound to the public weal, prosperity and greatness of their great and
glorious country. Speaking generally, the Spanish Freemason is proud of the
Fraternity to which he belongs; he is a generous, lighthearted fellow, proud of race
and country, distinctly kindly disposed to all irrespective of creed or tongue; and
when you meet him as a brother he is generosity itself, ready and willing to do his
share when opportunities are presented. I have experienced several instances when
this pleasing characteristic has been fully demonstrated.
A pretty little incident of this kind occurred some years ago and came to my notice,
which I think is worth repeating. A woman having recently lost her husband, who was
a Mason, was being sent home with her children to Gibraltar, and as she had no
friends at hand to escort her through Spain, a Spanish lodge was written to and
requested to kindly depute some brother to meet her and see her safely on her way.
With what care and consideration these brethren performed their mission of love may
be gathered from the following: this poor woman was met on her arrival at Madrid,
taken to a good hotel and cared for in every way; next day she was waited upon and
escorted to the train which was to take her to Gibraltar; her tickets for the journey
were bought and handed to her with the best of good wishes, and not one penny of
expenses was she allowed to pay. So the train started on its journey carrying with it a
grateful woman feeling, as she herself expressed it, that she had received at their
hands something of that tender sympathy and loving kindness which means so much
to the recipient, and of which she was so sorely in need. A little anecdote like this
surely indicates in some measure at least that wherever Masonic ethics are inculcated
and the seed of the great brotherhood is well and truly sown in human hearts, a
harvest rich in the fruits of sympathy, service and self-sacrifice must be the inevitable
Perhaps one of the most striking features one meets when traveling in Spain is the
many splendid old churches and cathedrals encountered, built in most unexpected
places, surrounded so often by mean, evil smelling narrow streets and alleys which
speak so plainly of the squalor, misery and distress abiding there, the indelible mark
of which has been stamped there during the passing of the centuries. And as one stops
for a moment or two and stands in one of the great portals of one of these stately
edifices, filled with admiration and wonder at the magnificence of sculpture and
architectural grandeur, one seems to hear and recognize with bowed head and humble
feelings the divine message of the gentle Master, "Come unto Me all ye that are
weary and heavy-laden," there is eloquently portrayed in the silent stateliness of the
great structure. Perhaps one of the most outstanding of these cathedrals from a
viewpoint of beauty is that of Santiago, of which I send you two postcards showing
the magnificent "Portico de la Gloria." Truly this beautiful sculpture may be termed
Quoting an old Spanish Masonic History dated 1880, ancient Spanish Masonry dates
back nearly two hundred years. During the reign of Philip V of Spain, about the year
1727, the Grand Lodge of England empowered Lord Coleraine to open a lodge in
Gibraltar and another in Madrid. Some twelve years later Captain Alexander
Commeford was installed Grand Master Mason of Andalusia. In the year 1808 the
Grand Orient of Spain adopted the system of government of the 33rd Degree Scottish
Rite and exercised jurisdiction over 1 82 lodges comprising between twelve and
thirteen thousand brethren. The Supreme Council of Spain in Madrid was constituted
in the year 1840, which since that time has been the supreme Masonic authority in the
— o —
TO JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN
To join, or not to join, that is the question
Whether 'tis better for myself to suffer
This non-Masonic state of outer darkness
Or tread the path of other, braver men
And by enrolling, end it? To join - to meet
No more, and in the Lodge to say we end
The cold, uncharitable, unfeeling times
Non-Masons suffer - 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To join the Lodge
Its mysteries perform - ay, there's the rub
For in those awful scenes what may be done
Which may intend to shake a strong man's soul?
It makes us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of our friendless state;
For who would bear the Solitary life
The World's indifference, the lack of Sympathy,
The want of friendly speech and the snubs
Which swelling self-importance stings us with,
Which he himself might evermore ignore,
By joining up? Who would so friendless be
To stand outside a genial Brotherhood
But that the dread of something afterwards
That unknown Society, whose secrets
No Mason reveals, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
So stand we hesitating on the brink
And so our firm resolve to join the Craft
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought
And leaves us marking time
On our own ground.
— o —
Freemasonry in India in 1780
By. BRO. I. V. GILLIS, Peking, China
THE other day while reading the Memoirs of William Hickey (1) I came across the
following notes that might be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER. Hickey was in
India during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the incidents quoted fell
between the years 1782-1790. Bro. Hickey, for so we must call him in spite of his
lack of appreciation of the society he joined, first mentions the subject thus:
"Having during my residence amongst the French at Trincomalay found how highly
they respected the Fraternity of Freemasons, and the advantage it would have been to
me had I at that time been of the Order, I determined to become a 'Brother' at the
earliest opportunity. Upon my arrival at Bengal Masonry happened to be much in
fashion, there being several Lodges that met, the one distinguished by the title of
'Number Two' being considered the most select. At this, therefore, I was proposed,
and after the usual examination and ceremony of 'making', as it is termed, the
mummery and absurdity of which, by the way, greatly offended me, I became a
member. I rose to the degree of Master, soon after which I filled the high office of
Some pages later he relates the natural outcome of his general attitude to the
"I shall here state a ridiculous dispute I got into with the Fraternity of Masons. The
Lodge No. 2, in which I had been made, had belonging to it several of the tradesmen
of Calcutta; also two or three vagabond attomies, to neither of which description of
person did I ever speak, and was therefore considered by them as extremely proud. A
new Lodge having been established, consisting of the principal gentlemen of the
Settlement, I sent in my resignation for No. 2, and was elected a brother of the new
Lodge. This gave great offence to those I had left.
"About two months after my change, I received an official letter from the Secretary of
my first Lodge, calling upon me in very peremptory language without loss of time to
pay the sum of one hundred and fifty sicca rupees, stated to be arrears of fees due
from me to the Lodge. As I did not approve of the manner in which this demand was
made, though indifferent about the amount claimed, I wrote an answer without using
the fraternal address, and began with a simple 'Sir'. I observed upon the impertinence
of the demand, which I denied the justice of, and although I might have probably paid
had it been civilly asked, I would not yield to the insolence of any low-bred fellow
tacking to his signature the title of 'Secretary'. My letter being laid before the Lodge,
the Master and his Warden took the matter up with much warmth; another epistle was
addressed to me expressive of his surprise my unmasonic letter had created, and
requiring an explanation for such conduct. I remained silent. A second and a third was
written to me which I treated with the same silent contempt. I was then threatened
with a complaint against me to the Provincial Grand Lodge which had no more effect
than the preceding addresses.
"During these letters I was elected Senior Warden of the new Lodge, which had
become extremely popular, so much so that at every meeting we had from eight to a
dozen brothers proposed. This success added to the irascibility of the first Lodge: they
actually did represent my conduct to the Provincial Grand Lodge as being scandalous
and derogatory to the character of a Mason. Mr. Edward Fenwick, of whom I have
before spoken more than once, being then the Acting Provincial Grand Master, called
upon me to admonish me privately as a friend, and advised my settling the business
by apologising to the Lodge I had insulted for my intemperate language. This I
refused to do, whereupon I received an elaborate address from Mr. Fenwick, assuring
me my contumacious treatment of the Fodge I had belonged to must and would be
taken up very seriously, and if I persisted in refusing to apologise, I should soon have
occasion to repent my obstinacy. At this I laughed.
"A complaint was regularly made to the Provincial Grand Fodge, where a difference
of opinion prevailed amongst the officers, some of them thinking that the Grand
Fodge had no right to take cognisance of such a complaint, my letter being a private
one from one individual to another in no way to be considered as masonic. I had a
strenuous advocate and supporter in Mr. Hugh Gayer Honeycomb, the Junior Grand
Warden, who upon finding the Grand Master and several members were for expelling
me, insisted upon the question being referred to the Grand Fodge of England for their
decision. This after a long debate was voted for unless I should upon more mature
consideration see the propriety of apologising. Mr. Fenwick, too made another
attempt to work upon my feelings, in an address consisting of eight sheets of paper,
containing an elaborate dissertation and panegyric upon Masonry, followed by a
strong censure of my contumacious behaviour towards the Secretary of the first
Fodge, whom I had wantonly and unlike a Mason offended and grossly insulted, for
which offence, if I did not satisfactorily apologise, the consequences must inevitably
be that I should be deprived of all the benefits of Masonry and no longer be
considered a brother. To this grave and voluminous philippic I wrote a concise reply,
saying, I had received his (Fenwick's) letter, and notwithstanding the dreadful
anathema it contained certainly would not make any apology either to a set of or an
individual blackguard. This drove the Provincial Grand Lodge gentry half crazy from
conceiving their dignity attacked, though I had not addressed or signed my letter as a
Mason. The Acting Provincial Grand Master immediately issued an order to the
Master of the new Lodge to elect a new Senior Warden in the stead of William
Hickey removed for contumacious and unmasonic conduct. The Master of the new
Lodge refused to obey, but not liking to enter into a personal altercation upon the
question, resigned his chair, as did his Junior Warden; thus was a serious schism
created amongst the fraternity in Calcutta.
"To finish this important matter at once. A reference upon it, with all the
circumstances, being made by the Provincial Grand Lodge to the Grand Lodge of
England, the Grand Master and his Council returned for answer that the Provincial
Grand Lodge of Calcutta had no right to take up the business in the way they had
done, and had committed a gross error in removing the Senior Warden of the new
Lodge, whom, therefore, they ordered to be immediately restored to his situation. The
letter concluded by an expression of surprise at the Provincial Grand Master and his
Officers being so ignorant of what their duty was. This was a great matter of triumph
for me and my friends; the Provincial Grand Secretary sent me an official notice of
my restoration, and I was importuned to resume the station I held, which, as I had
never been very fond of the Order, I persisted in declining, and from that time to the
present day have never been within a Mason's Lodge."
To all of which it can only be said that Hickey's motives for joining the Order
evidently verged dangerously upon the mercenary and unworthy, and he plainly
shows that the fundamental principles of the Fraternity never dawned upon him. As a
glimpse of Masonic life at the period these extracts seem to be of considerable
interest, and possibly of some historical value.
(1) The Memoirs of William Hickey, edited by Alfred Spencer. London. Hurst &
WHAT IS MASONRY'S GREATEST DANGER?
THE Craft can be in no danger of lapsing from power through a decline in numbers.;
its rulers are more concerned to keep Masonry's growth within due bounds. There is
no possibility of another anti-Masonic craze, now that it has been accepted into the
life of the nation. Nor has it need to fear external enemies; there is nothing they can
do, either to disrupt it from within or to destroy it from without. Its sole danger is that
its own members may lose sight of its true nature or its ancient ideals, so that what is
noble in it may become cheapened, and the landmarks at the heart of it shall be
— o —
R. J. MEEKREN Editor-in-Charge
BOARD OF EDITORS
LOUIS BLOCK, Iowa
ROBERT L. CLEGG, Ohio
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
RAY V. DENSLOW, Missouri
GEORGE H. DERN, Utah
N.W.J. HAYDON, Canada
R.V. Harris, Canada
C. C. HUNT, Iowa
CHARLES F. IRWIN. Ohio
A.L. KRESS, Pennsylvania
F.H. LITTKLEFIELD, Missouri
JOSEPH E. MORCOMBE, California
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, New York
ARTHUR C. PARKER, New York
JESSE M. WHITED, California
DAVID E. W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
A NEW CRUSADE
IF our studies do not bring us to see more clearly the purpose of the Fraternity, and
the duties and ideals laid upon individual Masons, then they are hardly worth
prosecuting. It is with this thought in mind that the article which appears on our front
page, from the pen of the Grand Master of New Mexico, is presented to the readers of
THE BUILDER. And this statement of our reason for this seeming departure from
research is by no means an apology therefor.
The cause of the tubercular in the Southwest is too important to the Craft, partakes
too much of the nature of a national emergency to be ignored longer. And that this is
the view of others - as it has long been of THE BUTEDER - is indicated strongly by
the action of members of the Masonic Service Association of the United States at its
annual meeting in November at Chicago when it instructed its Executive Commission
to take up in definite and positive manner the question of the relief of the Masonic
The action of the Association is, in effect, a recognition of Southwestern tubercular
situation as partaking of the nature of those national emergencies for which the
Association was originally created, as well as for the educational work which it has
been carrying on. The instructions given to the Executive Commission are far-
reaching, broadly comprehensive and at last the cause of the tubercular is in fair way
to receive its just attention.
In addition to this recognition in principle the Executive Commission has been
instructed to present the cause of the tubercular to the Grand Jurisdictions of the
country; to incur the necessary exploitation expense therefor; to make plans for
raising a fund of not less than $25,000 of which at least $5,000 shall be given to the
National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association of New Mexico, incorporated
by the authority of and sponsored by the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, and to
proceed to the development of plans for handling the situation created by the increase
of the Masonic tubercular, particularly his migration to the Southwest and into the
weaker Masonic jurisdictions of the country.
It has been long coming, but definite forward progress is now within sight. The
brethren of the Southwest, and particularly those of the New Mexico Grand
Jurisdiction, have been unceasing in their efforts in behalf of the migratory
consumptives and to them and to their brethren of Arizona and of Texas who have
had some share in their efforts is, in chief, the credit due for this action of the
Masonic Service Association. They have made the preliminary surveys to emphasize
their demands; they have done more - they have provided, so far as their efforts and
their means have enabled them, for the wandering tubercular. Their efforts are
beginning to bear real fruit and in that should lie the consciousness of a work well
begun as well as a determination to see it carried on to the utmost of the needs.
The readers of THE BUILDER, the members of the National Masonic Research
Society whose influence is great in the councils of the Craft throughout the United
States, have participated in this arousal of Masonic sentiment. They can do more.
They can support the new effort before their Grand Lodges. They can develop
sentiment in subordinate lodges. This is a cause which needs only publicity. It pleads
for itself once the facts are known, and it is beyond belief that the Masons of the
country will continue to leave their brethren of the Southwest to bear this burden
* * *
WITH this issue THE BUILDER has fulfilled the first year of its second decade. The
first number came out in January, 1915, when the Great War was but a few months
old, and no one could foretell the outcome or even realize the magnitude of the
conflict. Now at the end of 1925 we seem to at least see glimmerings of light through
the darkness, and there is a reasonable hope that the world is beginning to settle down
to peace. No man can live entirely to himself, neither can nations, especially with the
easy and rapid means of communication that are ours today.
It was not, as things fell out, a propitious time to found a magazine devoted to
Masonic research, and it is a wonder in some respects that it survived the time of
stress. But for the interest of the members of the Society, the voluntary and zealous
labor of the contributors, the ceaseless care of those who had charge, it would
doubtless have failed. But the fact that it was the organ of a widespread society has
undoubtedly been its salvation, when, had it been a private venture, it would almost
certainly have succumbed, as have so many other meritorious Masonic journals.
While the great majority of its readers are American Masons, yet it is strictly true that
THE BUILDER now goes to every country in the world where the English language
is spoken, and to many others besides, and this foreign membership is continuously
increasing. As has so often happened in history, those who founded the National
Masonic Research Society builded better than they knew. THE BUILDER has
become a forum where all matters pertaining to the Craft that can be written may be
fully discussed, and is undoubtedly an important center for the dispensing of further
light in Masonry, in all its aspects and from every point of view. It is the Speculative
Craftsmen's trade journal, through which he may communicate his experience, air his
opinions and seek answers to his questions and learn the results of the work of others.
We are happy to think that in this work there is nothing competitive, save only the
noble contention of who best can work. This is a field in which there is room for all,
and the work of one will stimulate greater interest in the work of others.
* * *
THE National Masonic Research Society is in some respects a unique organization.
Those enthusiastic and far-seeing brethren who were responsible for its inception had
in mind the formation of a body to function on the same lines as the various lodges
and associations for Masonic research that have done such good work in England. But
from the beginning two factors prevented the line of development being the same.
The one of these was so materialistic a circumstance as the size of the country, and
the other was the comparative backwardness of the Craft in America in regard to
scholarship. The first factor has very largely prevented the Society from functioning
as the older bodies do, its work has not been done through the medium of papers read
and discussed at periodical meetings, the distances, and expenses consequent thereon,
have prevented the members in most cases from even meeting each other personally,
the bond of union has been practically THE BUILDER and THE BUILDER alone.
The Society has indeed been more like the Correspondence Circle of one of the
English Lodges of Research, with the lodge cut out. The second factor has made it
necessary for the Society to undertake much more elementary work than any like
organization. It has had to meet the needs of the neophyte ignorant of even the bare
outline of Craft history as well as to hold the interest and encourage the scholar. Even
more, it has had to try and create an interest in the intellectual side of Masonry where
no such interest had previously existed.
Like all important movements, the Society had its birth in small things. In a sense it
may be said to have grown out of the idea of a "Study Club." To encourage the
formation of such clubs and providing them with material has always been a
prominent feature of the work of the Society. However, with the experience of now
eleven years certain defects in the machinery have come to light. The Study Club as a
rule is not a very permanent organization. Many causes are responsible for this, which
it would take too much space to fully discuss here, but one may be mentioned. To
further under the normal conditions in the ordinary lodge the minimum of
organization is desirable, but lack of organization is lack of the mainstay of corporate
persistence. Again, there has been only the slightest connection between the Study
Clubs and the Society, which has probably been to the detriment of both.
At this stage it seems as if the time were ripe for a forward movement. It has been
suggested that where members of the Society are grouped within a convenient area,
that local branches or chapters might well be formed. This would be productive of
two important results to begin with. Members of the Society within a given locality
would be enabled to come into actual touch with each other, and would receive the
added impulse and enthusiasm that personal contact always brings, and then such
branches might well take over the work of encouraging the work of the Study Clubs
in their district.
Various organizations of a professional character, such as societies of engineers,
architects, and so on, have found the branch system of organization most useful,
while the Sojourners' Club, a society of purely Masonic membership, follows a
similar method with its local chapters.
To begin with such an extension of our work would have to be tentative. The
organization would necessarily be very elastic, the branches could probably be left to
define their own activities within certain very broad limits. Some would perhaps be
able to meet regularly once a month during the year, or some part of it, others might
not be able to manage more than one meeting in the year, which would then probably
take on the character of a local convention. In such a case the time and place of the
meeting of a Grand Lodge or similar body might be the occasion. Such questions
could be solved in the doing, but the general proposition seems to have great promise
and we should very much like to have the opinions and thoughts of our members
upon the matter.
* * *
FREEMASONRY IN ITALY
IN the July, 1925, issue of THE BUILDER we were given a very timely article on
Freemasonry and Fascismo in Italy by Bro. Frank G. Bellini. The public press for
Nov. 5 and 6 carries articles (presumably furnished by the censors of the Italian press
and to this extent open to suspicion) which purport to reveal a plot to assassinate
Mussolini. Newspaper headlines run, "Troops on Guard at Headquarters of Socialists
and Freemasons," and it is claimed that the plot was hatched by Freemasons and
Masons throughout the world should reserve judgment as to the truth of these reports,
until substantiated from impartial sources. It is no new thing for dictators who
maintain their power through force to "expose" such plots against their well-being or
security with an eye to strengthening their own positions. Freemasonry in Italy is
struggling for life. If our readers will turn back and read Bro. Bellini's article they will
be enabled to understand the situation better.
* * *
IT was not without reason that the Christian Church fixed in the first ages of our era
the commemoration of the birth of the Master at the period of the winter solstice,
when the sun having reached the lower limit of its course once more begins to ascend
towards the zenith, bringing the longer days of spring made it a natural period of
rejoicing, and one that had from prehistoric times been marked by religious festivals.
It is a natural parable in the order of nature of the coming of Him who was to be for
many the Light of the World.
Masonry receives its initiates by a symbolism that among other meanings bears that
of a new birth, and at this season it may be well to think a little of this, and of the
characteristics by which we were then taught a Mason should be known before the
world - Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, and then those higher virtues,
Faith, Hope and Charity. Let us believe in that element of good that is in all men,
even the worst, let us hope for better things for those around us, and the world at
large. And that our hope may not be an empty one let us labor to bring those better
things about, remembering that a Mason's Charity should be without any bounds, as
far as the East is from the West. If we seek to bring happiness to others at this
Christmastide we shall therein find our own.
— o —
The Secondary Symbolism of Gothic Architecture
By BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
THERE is a form of symbolism that has been freely ascribed to those who designed
the architectural monuments of past ages that now falls to be considered. So much has
been asserted, often with little or no evidence to support it, that it will be well to clear
away the rubbish and see if we can discover what is the truth of the matter. The most
notable, some would perhaps prefer to say notorious, example of this kind of
symbolism is, if we may believe it, the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. Many books have
been written to support this theory; the best known and possibly the weightiest of
them being Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid, by Piazzi Smyth, at one time
Astronomer Royal of Scotland. In this work it is argued that the Pyramid is nothing
but a complex metrical and geometrical symbol, and that its chief internal
compartment, the so-called King's Chamber, was designed secondarily as a physical
observatory or laboratory. Further than this, it is asserted that all important events of
the world, both past and future, are marked in a kind of inspired and prophetic
calendar. There are indeed apparently a number of curious coincidences in the
measurements and proportions of the Great Pyramid, and several other peculiarities
that have not been very satisfactorily explained. How much credence should be given
to this theory will very largely depend on personal prepossessions. It may be stated
quite positively that no Egyptologist of note has adopted it. In any case it is too
remote both in time and place to have more than a passing reference here.
No one has attempted any such elaborate explanation of the symbolism embodied in a
medieval monument, at least in modern times. Bishop Durandus, who wrote in the
eleventh century, did work out a system of symbolic interpretation— not for any
particular building but for churches in general, and the seventeenth century saint and
mystic, George Herbert, also did something of the same sort in several of his
devotional poems. Leader Scott in her very interesting book on the Comacines
constantly takes for granted that such symbolism affected the designs of the Lombard
builders, but she makes little attempt herself to distinguish between sculptured figures
and devices and the form now under discussion, although she does refer to the
classification of "old Italian writers," who treat of church symbolism under the heads
of "the ermetica (hermeneutic?), which they define as symbolism of form or number;
and orfica (orphic), that of figures or representations," and she goes on to say that
"under the first head would fall the symbolical form of their churches to which we
have referred; the form of the windows which were double lighted, and emblematized
the two lights of the law and the gospel; the rounded apse, emblem of the head of
Christ; the threefold nave shadowing forth the Trinity; the octagonal form of the
baptisteries, which St. Ambrose says was emblematical of the mystic number eight,
etc." To this we may add the cruciform plan of most large churches, those built after
the tenth century at least, and the even more universal care to build them due east and
That the medieval mind did delight in numerical proportions and relations is
undoubted. There is a tremendous amount of such symbolism, if such it can be
properly termed, in Dante. But really this is a universal trait of the human mind,
especially at a certain stage of culture. There is plenty of it to be found in the Bible,
there is even more in the Chinese Classics; which are full of quaint numerical
arrangements of qualities of things and events.
There are two aspects to this interest in numbers. In the first place they may be used
as a mnemonic system. Some of the older forms of Masonic catechism show this very
plainly, and traces of it still exist in our rituals. If corresponding ideas are grouped
under the same or contrasting numbers, as when it is said that there are three
theological and four cardinal virtues, seven liberal arts and sciences divided into three
elementary and four advanced, the well-known trivium and quadrivium. Of the
curious groups of four made by Agur the son of Jakeh— "there are three things which
are too wonderful for me, yea four that I know not," and for "Three things the earth is
disquieted, and four which it cannot bear." A number makes a very obvious empty
form in which the several points of an oral tradition can be arranged. If there are ten
"words" in the Law given on Mt. Sinai, or five points in the Craftsman's obligation,
any lapse of memory is corrected almost automatically. But this is not the only source
of numbered schemes, there is also an interest in the numbers themselves. It was
along such lines that the earliest researches into mathematics were prosecuted. The
discovery of numerical relations, such as those in the three-four- five right angled
triangle, or the arrangement of the primary integers in a magic square, so that they
give the same total however added up, gave rise to speculations that the whole
universe, material and spiritual, was based on numerical proportions and harmonies.
It is this that is at the basis of all theories and systems of sacred numbers. For the
number three there is probably a physchological basis. Up to this, number is felt
instinctively rather than recognized intellectually. There is reason to think the higher
animals and some birds can sense the difference between two and three. Many
primitive races had no names for numbers beyond three— which however does not at
all mean they could not count further. Some such peoples were quite able, and often
did in their trading, compute hundreds and even thousands, but it was done
mechanically with the aid of the fingers and other counters, and counting devices. In
some such cases there were properly only two numbers named, one and two. Three
was designated as "many"— which is a curious parallel to the singular dual and plural
cases in Greek and Sanscrit, and probably all Indo- Aryan languages in their original
form. Five is another number which has an obvious basis in the fingers of the hand.
Seven is roughly the number of days between phases of the moon. The significance of
the higher numbers seems largely derived from these lower ones, and in many cases it
seems distinctly artificial, invented to round out the system. Today mathematical
science has gone far beyond arithmetic and plane geometry, and this naive wonder at
such elementary relations may seem almost inexplicable. Nevertheless intelligent
children often pass through the stage, while our physicists and mathematicians are
trying again, with more abstruse calculations, to account for the world and the stuff of
which it is made in a generalized form of numbers and geometrical figures.
But the question before us is whether such numerical or other symbolism had any
direct effect on the plans of ancient religious edifices. It is very hard to say definitely.
Here and there instances can be found that seem to point to numerical ratios being
consistently followed, or the plan and elevation can be developed on a scheme of
triangles. But though this might affect the actual dimensions of an individual structure
the mass of evidence goes to show that the type of the building was developed on
entirely different principles. Take for example three of the points mentioned above,
the triple division into nave and aisles, the rounded apse, and the cruciform outline.
We may quote a very eminent authority on architecture, W. R. Lethaby. Speaking of
Gothic buildings he says: "On comparing a number of examples ... it becomes clear
that they were schemed on large lines to satisfy given purposes with materials readily
available. The builders valued spaciousness and height, lastingness and fair
workmanship, but ideas ... of abstract proportion probably never occurred to them. If
we turn from the cathedrals to the little village churches we find that they were in the
first case built as directly for their purpose as a cart or a boat." That is they were
preeminently practical men, these old masons. Their plans were made in accordance
with the peculiarities of the site and the material at hand, and under these conditions
to erect a structure adapted to the special purpose or purposes in view. When we trace
the development of the type of the Christian Church edifice, we find it is a continuous
evolution. The very earliest form was a simple cella, an oblong box of brick or
masonry, as little differentiated in its parts as an old fashioned country meeting-
house. As soon as it became necessary to build larger churches the structural problem
of the roof arose, and was solved in the most direct way by the use of internal
supports, posts if of wood, pillars if of stone. The same problem has been met all over
the world in all ages by the same obvious device. But the earliest church builders did
not even have to think of it for themselves. They had the temples and public buildings
of the empire before them as models, and inevitably their builders followed the
tradition of their predecessors in the craft. The basilica was there already in the west,
and needed no change in form to fit it for Christian worship; and in the basilica we
find both the triple division by two rows of columns and the rounded apse. It can
hardly be said that the "symbolizing" of this plan in a Christian sense could have had
anything to do with its development when it was perfected before Christianity began.
HOW THE CRUCIFORM PLAN AROSE
The cruciform plan on the whole did develop under Christian influence, though it had
already been suggested in some later structures of the Roman Empire. In Eastern
churches it certainly was evolved in the effort to increase the diameter of the central
dome. The four arms of the "Greek" cross with their semidomed roofs supported the
central vault. The western cross, however, seems to have been developed chiefly to
give more space for chapels. It was the rule of the church that each priest must say
mass every day, and also that mass should be said only once a day at any altar. When,
as in Cathedrals and Abbeys, there were many priests there had to be a corresponding
number of altars. But though the transept thus had what may be called a strictly
utilitarian origin, the builders, as in all else they did, seized upon it as an architectural
opportunity. It was not so much the form of the cross in the ground plan that
interested them, as the added spaciousness, the vistas, the lights and shadows that
their genius could play with, and make beautiful and awe-inspiring.
The form of window with twin lights is not so easy to deal with. In the first place it is
restricted in distribution, being peculiar to Lombard and early Norman work. The
usual form is two round arched openings close together, with a small column in the
middle supporting the inner spring of both arches. At the same time this was not by
any means the only form of window used, and it is difficult to examine a number of
the buildings in which it appears and imagine any consistent system upon which it
could have been used if symbolism was its chief purpose. On the other hand this
particular style of architecture is distinguished by its use of arcades of small round
arches, supported sometimes on small columns, sometimes on pilasters. In the facade
of San Michele at Pavia the five double windows obviously repeat the motif of the
stepped arcade supporting the gable, and the impression is forced upon the mind that
the aesthetic was the chief inspiration of the arrangement. This does not, however,
preclude symbolism. The two round windows flanking the deeply incised Greek cross
are not a little reminiscent of the two crosses and wheel found in the Cathedral of
Monza built in the eighth century.
HOW THE GOTHIC WINDOW WAS EVOLVED
A window is fundamentally an opening in the wall of a building to let in light. It as
naturally and inevitably becomes an architectural feature as the doors. The Gothic
style of architecture was one in which the windows became a dominating feature, the
walls became less and less important as the style developed until at last the churches
became, as it has been said, "great stone lanterns," "frameworks of masonry filled
with colored glass." But here again it is hardly likely that symbolism affected the
evolution very greatly if at all, although it is probable that the use of round windows
was connected with pre-Christian ideas. But first it may be as well to see how the
Medieval traceried window developed. In the diagram A, we have a pair of lancet
openings with an oculus or round opening above it. There was a practical advantage
in putting the lancets in pairs as the amount of light was thereby increased, as will be
obvious on inspection of the plan. In the second stage B, the openings are all
enlarged, and to reduce the pressure of the masonry above a relieving arch is built
into the wall. In C, the openings are still further enlarged, the relieving arch has
become the head of the window itself, while the lancets and oculus have been
metamorphosed into tracery. The evolution is here of course only shown
schematically, the actual development was much more gradual, but the diagram
shows the stages it followed, and that the cause was literally a desire for more light
conditioned by structural necessity. But the oculus or "eye" had another line of
development which finally led to the magnificent and beautiful wheel or rose
windows of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
To go into the subject of the wheel as a symbol at all deeply is quite impossible here,
the most that can be done is to give a few indications of its distribution and antiquity.
In India it is an ancient symbol, and one that later became very prominent in
Buddhism. The "Wheel of the Law" is a well-known phrase, but it means much more
than "law" in the ordinary sense. It seems to signify the whole course of nature,
physical, moral and spiritual. In Europe the magical use of fire wheels and disks was
widespread and apparently pre-historic in origin. Customs of this kind survived until
modern times. Actual wheels that could be turned seem to have existed in certain
temples in Classical and Roman times, and are still more frequently represented. In
Gaul, the very country where the rose winlow was developed, the wheel was a
prominent symbol closely connected with a deity sometimes equated with Jupiter and
Zeus and supposed to have been solar in character. In Italy it was more generally
ascribed to Fortuna. This goddess did not originally merely preside over fortune or
chance, she was a form of the primitive nature goddess, the earth mother. The sky god
had the wheel as attribute on account of the movement of the sun and moon and stars,
the earth mother because of the succession of the seasons. Later by a natural transition
it was taken to represent the course and vicissitudes of human life— the wheel of
fortune in the modem sense.
In early Greek representations of buildings we find that the ends of the roof ridges
were adorned with a kind of ornament called in general akroteria. This was more
often than not circular or at least ovoid in shape, very often it was a disk, sometimes
radiated, sometimes plain, sometimes with a gorgon's head depicted upon it. In early
times it was often flanked by two snakes, reminding us of the winged discs and
uraeus snakes that almost invariably appear over Egyptian doorways. It is certainly a
curious coincidence, if no more, that the Gothic rose window occupies the same
relative position in the building. In the illustration given last month of the porch of
Bourges Cathedral (p. 344) we see a wheel shaped opening, not a window here, for
the gable of the porch is only a facade. If this wheel be traditionally derived from the
pagan device it has a peculiar fitness in this particular place, for the scene depicted
over the doors is none other than the Last Judgment. In a very early form of the wheel
window at Beauvais it is plainly represented as a wheel of fortune. Christ sits
enthroned above, while human figures are rising on the right and falling on the left. It
is very curious that actual wheels of iron or other material, with similar figures
wrought on them, representing usually youth, manhood and age, were often hung up
in the roofs of French churches. These could be turned by means of a crank and a
dependant chain or rope and they were used as a sort of oracle. Some of these still
exist in remote country villages. Taking this evidence altogether— and only its
character has been indicated here, not its extent— we can hardly escape the conclusion
that this form of window did originate in a pre-Christian tradition. And if so, it is not
impossible that the two-lighted window with which we started may also have been
given a symbolic reference. The window certainly seemed to attract the medieval
mind, it was a common motif for the ornamentation of household furniture, metal
work, plate and even jewelry. In some forms of the Compagnonage the window of the
room where the ceremonies were performed was given a symbolic meaning. The sash
bars represented the cross or rood, the two shutters St. John and the Virgin Mary. And
it is hardly necessary to remind readers of THE BUILDER that the earliest Masonic
charts or "tracing boards" showed three windows as the lights of the lodge.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS DOMINATED
But in spite of all this the evidence is equally conclusive that the architectural motive
was dominant. No traditional form would have survived, whatever its symbolic
reference, had it not lent itself to artistic treatment and been adapted to fit in with the
development of the Gothic style of building. In very early times when Byzantine
influence was still all powerful, the dome was freely emphasized as symbolizing
heaven, and was often decorated accordingly. But this did not prevent its being
entirely superseded first by the barrel and later by ribbed vaulting. The case of
sculptured ornament is rather different, for it could be readily adapted to new forms of
construction, and that such survived is practically certain. The "lion" pillars of
Lombardy can possibly be traced back to Mesopotamia, whatever their significance
may originally have been. The wheel symbol may have had, in addition to the
meanings already discussed, an apotropaeie purpose, that is in plain English, it was
intended as a prophylactic or charm against witchcraft and the evil eye.
In Ireland it is said that many country churches had over the principal doorway the
rude carving of a female figure "in an obscene attitude." What this was those
acquainted with the subject of witchcraft may readily guess. On a church in the West
of England there is, in a series of gargoyles, a grotesque phallic figure in the attitude
in which Pan or Priapus was sometimes represented. Such figures were undoubtedly
used in ancient times as charms against the evil eye, and were often placed on
buildings for "good luck" and this purpose probably persisted in Christian times. It is
very probable, too, that the intreccio or Solomon's Knot, the endless interwoven
bands that the Lombard builders were so fond of, had a similar purpose, for it is well
known that an intricate pattern of this kind, or a tangled skein of thread or string, was
a potent charm against the evil eye. The underlying supposition being that the witch
on seeing it must stop to unravel it or trace it out, and in doing so loses for the time
her malefic power. It was in fact a sort of spiritual lightning conductor.
That the symbolism in the design of the building was secondary and by no means the
first consideration is the conclusion that a survey of the facts seems to lead us. And to
clinch the matter we may see what Durandus says about it.
"In the Temple of God the foundation is Faith, . . . the roof charity, which covereth a
multitude of sins [elsewhere he says 'the tiles of the roof that keep off the rain are the
soldiers, who preserve the Church from Paynim.'] The door, obedience, of which the
Lord saith, If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments. The pavement,
humility . . . The four side walls the four cardinal virtues ..." and so on. He likens the
cement to "fervent charity," the stones to the individual members of the church, and
he says "The circular staircases, which are imitated from Solomon's Temple, are
passages which wind among the walls and point out the hidden knowledge which
they only have who ascend to celestial things." It would be a reductio ad absurdum to
say that roof and foundations, wrought stones, cement and tiles, staircases and walls
and pavements were used in a building primarily for their symbolic reference. It is
safe to say then that such symbolism is applied to a structure after it has been planned
on quite practical lines.
We may conclude with a quotation from A. K. Porter's work on Medieval
"Thus," he says, after a discussion of this aspect of the subject, "throughout the
Gothic Cathedral, from pavement to spire every detail of imagery occupied its
definite and logical position in the powerful unity that dominated the whole. It is
never by chance that one subject, instead of another, is treated in a given window: no
two statues of the facade could be transposed without injury to the entire scheme of
iconography. Gothic sculptures and glass are arbs supremely beautiful in themselves;
but it is only when it is considered how much else these arts are, besides merely
beautiful, that the full genius of the Gothic artist is comprehended. At the same time
that he created images architectural, as no other plastic art has ever been architectural,
at the same time that he so successfully filled fields more difficult than any other
sculptors have ever been required to decorate, at the same time that he imbued his
figures with the breath of life, and with a consummate beauty, the Gothic designer
was also able to conceive a vast unity of composition that must rank as one of the
most impressive achievements of any art, and to imprint upon the whole a depth of
inner poetic meaning and symbolism which sums up the best in scholastic
From all this it will be seen how complex the whole design must have been, and the
intellectual ability as well as technical skill of the builders. But it can hardly be
regarded as the work of one man. It was traditional, it reflected the spirit, the interests
and knowledge of the age. In it what there was of survival from paganism was given
new meaning, and the whole was open to all who had the ability to understand. We
can hardly suppose the peasant, the serf, or even all members of the higher orders of
society were able to appreciate the whole, but the key was not a mystery, it was
simply a question of intelligence and education. On the other hand it is hard to
suppose that the men who did the work did not appreciate its meaning, the medieval
masons were the same type of men who today are architects, artists and civil
engineers, and must be regarded as quite capable of developing a private symbolism
of their own.
To sum up the conclusions we seem to have reached in this brief study of medieval
architecture we may say that the symbolism used by the builders, including under this
term both the Masons and those who employed them, was exceedingly varied,
ranging from pictorial and sculptured representation treated in conventional style and
arrangement, to ideas attached to the different parts and materials of the building
itself. That the sculpture and painting was deliberately designed with symbolic
purpose in view, even to the position in which it was placed, and that this was the
predominant consideration, though they were always treated with a view to artistic
effect— the unity of the whole design. Second, that certain forms were continued from
pre-Christian times by the power of tradition, but that these were given new
meanings; and third, that when the structure was completed or the type of building
settled, other symbolical interpretations of a secondary character were invented and
applied to parts and elements of the building to round out the whole scheme. Roughly
that is there are three main divisions. The purely symbolical, in that this was the chief
motive. The traditional features to which new meanings were given, and the
secondary symbolism that was worked out after the design was completed. But even
so it is certain that the divisions are not clearly cut, for the inter-relations and
interaction between them were always adding fresh complexity to the whole. It is
easy for us to see meanings that were not intended, as easy as to miss what was really
in the minds of those who built; which only emphasizes what has already been said,
that in the elucidation of symbols as much depends on what the interpreter brings to
the task as on the purpose of those who devised them.
In addition to the works mentioned in the preceding article the Poetry of Architecture
by Frank Rutter may be mentioned. The Buddhist Praying Wheel by Wm. Simpson
contains much matter on the symbolism of the wheel, and turning movements. Leader
Scott's work on The Cathedral Builders and the Rationale of Durandus have been
referred to, but these works are all very scarce unfortunately.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
Did symbolic motives have a predominant influence on the designs of Gothic
buildings? What influence did numerical and geometrical proportions have upon the
plans? Why were many churches built so that the center line of the chancel deviated
from that of the nave? Why were they built east and west? Was the symbolism of the
round traceried windows that of the wheel or the rose? Why were the round windows
sometimes called "eyes"?
— o —
MASONRY AND THE MIDDLE WEST
TERRITORIAL FREEMASONRY. By Ray Vaughn Denslow. Published by the
Masonic Service Association, Washington D. C. May be purchased through the Book
Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange, St.
Louis, Mo. Cloth, table of contents, index, 291 pages. Price, postpaid, $2.15.
THE writer must confess in the first place that having no personal connection with the
Middle West he accepted the task of reviewing the present volume as a duty only.
Taking it home with him he began to read it on the street car. After what seemed a
short time he looked up and saw the brilliant illumination of an auto service station
which seemed utterly unfamiliar. After a moment of blank bewilderment he realized
he had been carried about two miles beyond his stopping place. Anyone can write
history of a sort, it needs only diligence and care in collecting the records of facts, but
the gift of using these facts when collected to weave a story of real human interest is
given to but very few, if we may judge from the character of most histories, whether
Masonic or otherwise. Of this gift the author evidently has his share.
The work covers the period from the cession of the Louisiana Territory to the United
States up to the admission of Missouri to the Union, that is, from 1804 to 1820, a
brief sixteen years, but years of wonderful growth and crowded with eventful
It is certainly most remarkable how large a proportion of the outstanding men who
pushed the frontiers of civilization westward were members of the Craft. But after all
it is only natural. As it was then so it is today, of those who travel widely, explorers,
sojourners in far lands, the pick of these are much more frequently found to be
Masons than not. As Bro. Denslow shows Freemasonry did more than follow the flag,
it preceded it or carried it with it. In reading the ordinary history of these events the
Fraternity is seldom even mentioned - it could hardly be otherwise, for it did not in
those days advertise itself - but in reading the present work one sees story from
within, and comes to realize what a great part in thousands of ways the mystic tie
must have played. Lodges were organized before churches and almost before
government itself, and the influence that they must have indirectly played must
forever remain incalculable. In the mixture of men from every other state, and from
many foreign lands, men with every variety of political, religious and social opinions
and habits, men who by virtue of the very fact that they were pioneers and settlers in
the wilderness, who, like the builders of the second temple, had often of necessity to
labor armed, to be ever ready to drop the axe to seize the rifle, were characterized by
the sterner virtues of their race, courage and pugnacity, possessed also the defects of
these virtues, high tempers and a readiness to follow a quarrel not at all conducive to
public peace. The fact that the leaders of such communities were so frequently
Masons, accustomed to the traditional order and harmony of the lodge, must have
been a great factor in supporting law and order when these were but feebly sustained
by the authorities.
The mother lodge of the Mississippi Valley was Western Star, No. 107, on the roll of
the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Its location was at Kaskaskia, which later became
the first capital of Illinois. Seven Master Masons signed the petition and in September
it WAS duly constituted by a Bro. Robert Robertson acting for and by authority of the
Grand Lodge, Bro. James Edgar being installed as the first Master. Some peculiarities
of the by-laws of this lodge may be noted. The youngest brother present had to tile
the lodge when the proper officer was absent, and "without reward" and a fine of five
dollars was prescribed if he refused. Any brother revealing any of the transactions of
the lodge was to be expelled - or fined fifteen dollars. One rule specially permits the
previous question to be moved if the mover could find two seconders, a procedure
prohibited by most of our present day codes. The regulations against disorderly
conduct were especially emphasized which doubtless throws some light on the
possibilities at that time.
In March, 1812, it was discovered that there were no minutes of the preceding
meeting. An earthquake shattered "the stone house in which the lodge was kept" and
"the books and furniture then became inaccessible to those who had met and
consequently the delinquency on the part of the lodge in not meeting was
The chapter on Masonic duelists will strike many readers as strange - especially when
they find that there were duels between Masons. But perhaps stranger still to most
Americans today was the distinction between those who were gentlemen and those
who were not. A gentleman was not obliged to accept a challenge from one whom he
considered his social inferior - though the consequence was that the friend who
brought the challenge would have to send one on his own behalf. The theory being
that in refusing a challenge on such grounds a man insulted the second by implying
that he associated with his inferiors. The whole atmosphere seems unreal today and it
is hard to believe it is only three generations ago.
There appears to have been some oversight in preparing the work for the press in one
place. In the account of the formation of Louisiana Lodge, No. 109, the first on the
western side of the Mississippi, the by-laws adopted by the lodge in 1816 are given in
extenso, which were submitted to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for approval. The
report of the Grand Lodge Committee on these is given in full which recommends a
number of amendments. On comparison it would seem that in some places at least not
the original but the amended forms of the by-laws had been given. As for example the
committee decided, in Art. 7, Section 7, to "strike out the word 'ancient' in the first
line and insert the words 'being an ancient York' after the word 'brother' in the same
line." But as given the passage reads, "Any brother being an Ancient York Mason
wishing to become a member, etc." In the amendment to Article 1 the words "and
living," in the first line, are to be struck out, which seems to be a misprint of "livery"
as this line is the heading "Of the Meeting and Livery of the Lodge.” That "livery"
was intended seems certain because Section 4 of this article, which deals with "the
livery" is ordered to be struck out altogether. The livery, by the way, was probably
intended for the collars and aprons and was to have been blue; one wonders whether
the objection was to the color or to the phraseology. Attention is drawn to this small
blemish chiefly because this work will undoubtedly become an authority. In generals
the make-up and proof-reading are of the highest quality. The typography is excellent.
The paper also is very good, the binding simple and unostentatious. Bro. Denslow is
to be very highly complimented on his work and the Masonic Service Association is
to be congratulated on adding this to the valuable list of publications they have put
out for the benefit of the Craft.
* * *
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MANCHESTER ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC
AS usual this volume is full of good things. The Presidential address by Bro. A. G.
W. Provart is on Masonic Knight Templary. The survey is not limited to the Knight
Templar Order only but includes the other degrees that have always been intimately
connected with it. The argument tends to throw the origin of this offshoot of Masonry
further back is usually allowed, except by those who still swallow the traditional
history without criticism. Bro. Provart thinks that the Knight Templars were closely
connected with "Scotch" Masonry, that is "Ecossaism", and seems to be inclined to
think that the Chevalier Ramsay may have had more to do with such developments
than the critical school of students have been inclined to admit.
Bro. Clegg again turns up with an address on American Masonry, especially dwelling
on the salient points in which it differs from the Craft in England. Bro. D. Lowe
Turnbull has a most valuable paper on German ritual. He says that it "bears a general
resemblance to the Emulation Working, with, however, important variations". As he
describes it the variations are very important indeed.
One radical innovation under the Grand Lodge of Hamburg (which is the especial
subject treated) is the substitution of declarations in place of the traditional
obligations. The theory that the lodge has no control over a Mason's actions has little
favor there. He is bound not to resign (that is demit) without permission given, nor
can he join any secret society without first resigning from the lodge, which in effect
means without its permission. A year's interval is required between each degree, and
the Master's Lodge meets in a special chamber used for no other purpose, from this it
will be seen that the relation of lodges of E.A's and F .C's to the Master's Lodge is
different entirely from either that in England or in America.
The dramatic part of the Third Degree so far as it goes seems more like American
than English usage. The real fact being that in Germany and France much of the
original "body of Masonry" has been retained that has become obsolete in English
speaking Masonry. To the student of variations in the ritual this article should be of
the greatest interest.
Bro. Arthur Heiron contributes a paper on the Craft in the Eighteenth Century in
which he continues the line of research begun in his History of Old Dundee Lodge
and his articles on Dr. Johnson in THE BUILDER in 1923, in which much new
information is collected.
Bro. Hubert Hunt has an article on "Mozart and His Masonic Music," and there is a
brief account of the "Lady Lever Art Gallery" by the Curator, Bro. Sydney L.
Davison, which contains among other treasures some valuable and interesting
The Treasurer of the Association is obliged to note in his report the loss incurred by
the delinquency of a number of members in not paying their subscriptions.
Unfortunately it is not the only institution that suffers from this. One would at least
expect Masons after having received the Transactions for two or more years would at
least feel bound to pay up to date even if unable to afford the continuance of their
membership. The subscription is really a very low one and it would be well worth
while for more of our American students to join the Association.
* * *
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MERSEYSIDE ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC
THIS volume contains a number of exceedingly interesting papers by brethren whose
names are well known to students. A short address given by Bro. Robert I. Clegg
holds the place of honor, discussing the status of Masonic research on both Sides of
the Atlantic. This is followed by a paper on the "Nature, Object and Scope of
Masonic Research" by Bro. H. Flint. The author seems rather to deprecate the study
of Masonic origins and antiquities, and to press the claims of general culture as
represented by the liberal arts and sciences, and above all the study and application of
ethics. With his positive contribution there will be few if any to disagree.
Bro. J. Walter Hobbs has a very interesting account of mediaeval Masons, lay and
clerical, and gives many quotations from old records to illustrate the conditions in
which they labored and their status in the community. One is inclined to take
exception, however, to the statement on page 30, that "in the earlier days some of-the
Great Cathedrals and Abbeys maintained a school or place for teaching architecture,
where the ecclesiastics, who had charge of the building works, ruled and taught with
Master Masons and men of lower degree to carry on the operative part of the work."
With all deference to the author it is difficult to see anything even remotely
resembling a school in the alleged instances cited. The ecclesiastics were employers
and they naturally saw that the work was done as they wanted it, as employers always
have done. And where the work was continuous over a long period of time it was not
unnatural that regulations were laid down, but that there was anything of the nature of
a school over and above the normal instruction of apprentices, or that the employers
had any special interest in this instruction, there is not a word in the records to
A paper by Bro. Lionel Vibert has, with other very valuable matter, some suggestions
as to the origin of the initiation ceremonies of the three degrees. He accepts the theory
that previous to 1717 there were only two ceremonies, the Admission of the
Apprentice and that of Fellow or Master, but he argues that in the present tri-gradal
system the ceremonies of the First Degree are not appropriate to the operative
apprentice, normally a boy of fourteen, but that those of the second, which employ
the "symbol of a winding stairway leading to a portal flanked by two pillars of
significance" and beyond which "there lies the inner chamber where the reward
awaits the diligent craftsman and student," would be. The boy is not going to learn his
trade all at once, and so Bro. Vibert thinks this allegory very suitable, while that of
the First Degree representing a new birth, he thinks more appropriate to the
speculative or honorary members, thus reaching the conclusion that there were two
initiations, one for each class of members. The idea is original but one cannot help
feeling that it is based too largely on the present form of the English ritual, just as the
theory of the late Bro. Race (which is alluded to in the paper) that the drama of the
Third Degree was a sort of miracle play, fits the form of the work as carried out in
England very remarkably, but is entirely upset by the differing forms used in other
times and places. However, the supposition that local stories of the murder of a
craftsman or apprentice, such as that of Rosyln chapel, are really due to the
misunderstanding by mystified profanes of allusions to the Third Degree ceremonies
is one that is inherently very probable, though it is not of course a new hypothesis.
Those who cannot believe that such an important element of craft allegory as the
legend of the Third Degree was invented or adopted de mono after 1717 will see in
this interpretation of such legends a confirmation of their position.
Bro. Covey Crump has a paper on "How Our Craft P. WDS. Came to Be Adopted,"
which is full of erudition, though as a matter of fact he gives chiefly information
about the words themselves and their significance, and says nothing really of when,
where and why they were first chosen.
The thesis of Bro. A. T. Brand on the opening and closing ceremonies of the lodge is
one that would interest American readers chiefly as throwing light on English Craft
usages. It is a very good example of the result of applying rigid logic to Masonic
usages. A brief quotation will serve to illustrate the point. "In Freemasonry," says
Bro. Brand, "use and wont are considered to be a sufficient precedent for the
continued existence of obviously doubtful points of ritual; but, if habit and custom,
however hoary with antiquity, are based on false data, they form a precedent only for
the perpetuation of error." To this it must be said that any undoubtedly ancient custom
or form has more authority in a traditional system such as Freemasonry than a logical
scheme that may itself be built on false premises, and at best refers only to a modem
variant of the ritual. In England the lodge is opened in the First Degree, then in the
Second and finally in the Third as need requires - it is closed in steps in reverse order.
At the present day it is customary in America to open always on the Third, and to
regard the E. A. lodge and the F. C. lodge as distinct entities. The logical scheme that
is applicable to one method will not fit the other at all. And here we must surely say
"so much the worse for the logic". A ritual form that does not fit the scheme will
probably prove to be a vestige of an earlier ceremony that was on quite different lines
altogether. One result thus arrived at in the paper is that the candidate at his first
entrance should give, or have given for him, only one knock. This is certainly in
defiance of every line of Masonic tradition and even the Emulation Eodge of
Improvement, as Bro. Brand admits, though he considers that here it errs, teaches "a
triplicate signal". Nevertheless, taken with caution, the paper may be of use to our
brethren in England seeking for rules to cover doubtful points, though probably the
best advice would be always to adhere to the custom of the lodge until it is absolutely
certain that it is wrong.
* * *
THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY
THE SUPPRESSED TRUTH ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT
LINCOLN. By Burke McCarty. Published by the Gopher Agency, Chicago, 111. May
be purchased through the National Masonic Research Society Book Department,
1950 Railway Exchange Bldg., St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, illustrated, table of contents,
255 pages. Price, postpaid, $1.65.
THE thesis of the writer, a lady who has left the Roman Catholic Church, is that the
Hierarchy of that Church in its political schemes for the domination of the world
strongly favored the Confederate side in the Civil War in the hope that the country
would be split into two parts, and so weakened that it would not be thereafter so able
to uphold the democratic ideals of liberty and independence. That Lincoln as the
leader of the forces bent on preserving the Union thereby incurred the enmity of the
Church, and in especial of the Jesuit Order, and that for this he was condemned to
death. It is strongly hinted that the conspirators who were brought to trial for the
crime were merely subordinates. Great stress is laid on the fact that they were all
Roman Catholics, considerable space being devoted to proving that the actual
assassin was a convert from the Protestant Episcopal Church, to which all his family
We expect that the arguments adduced for this particular purpose will carry weight
with the readers of the book in proportion to their willingness to accept the general
hypothesis, and it would be idle to blink the fact that many Americans and among
them a great many American Masons are very much inclined to believe anything bad
of the Roman Church. However, viewed dispassionately, the picture of Romanism as
a sort of secret Prussian army, international in character, and moving everywhere in
accordance with orders from headquarters can hardly be a true one - for if it were it
would inevitably have attained its supposed end by this time, and the Pope and his
counsellors would be autocratically ruling the world. After all, Roman Catholics,
even their priests and bishops, are human beings. They have human weaknesses,
jealousies, spites, bickerings - in short, they evidently do not work together with just
one aim in view as the alarmist supposes. A striking proof is to be found in the late
war. The Vatican undoubtedly favored the German side, yet could not prevent
Cardinal Mercier forcibly protesting the outrages of the invasion of Belgium.
Belgium is a devotedly Catholic country. According to the author's account of the
Roman organization Mercier should have used all his influence on the German side,
Belgians should have given free passage to the German armies and afforded them all
It must always be remembered that when a group of people have a common set of
beliefs and rules of conduct, that from the outside they will appear to be acting as if
guided by some central control. The Masonic organizations thus appear to the non-
Masonic outsider, even in English speaking countries. In Latin countries where those
who join the Order are, in the nature of the political and social environment, very
much more of one mind among themselves on questions of public interest, this has
given the appearance of a concerted political action on their part as Masons, although
political and religious questions are no more permitted as subjects of discussion in
their lodges than they are in our own. Freemasonry is hostile to no church and to no
state, however antagonistic that church or state may be to Freemasonry. And
Freemasons are taught to judge with candor and to seek truth and justice. The present
work is frankly partisan, it presents a strongly en parse case. It is well worth reading
to see what the case is, but ah statements should be checked by reference to more
impartial authorities. It may be that the organization that so many American
Protestants suspect and fear is rather racial than ecclesiastical.
S. J. C.
* * *
HOMER FOR THE PRESENT DAY
HOMER AND THE PROPHETS, OR HOMER AND NOW. By Cornelia Steketee
Hulst. Published by the Open Court Publishing Company: Chicago: 1925. May be
purchased through the National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950
Railway Exchange, St. Louis, Mo. Green cloth illustrated, 89 pages. . Price, postpaid,
$ 1 . 10 .
PERHAPS the best approach to Homer today is by means of the 'movie'," says the
author in the first chapter, and she instances a young student who had seen the film of
the Odyssey and said it was a "thriller of the first order, and that when it was given in
his university town it attracted large and increasing crowds of townsfolk and students
before its run of a week was over, not at all because it was 'scholarly stuff,' and
'highbrow,' but because it has a strong human appeal."
She tells us that she was helped in the moral and religious interpretation of Homer by
reading him in translation with classes of girls and boys, and says that to really rise to
the epic "a scholar must become as a little child, or have kept a good deal of the spirit
of childhood, so that he can enter and live what the poet has written."
The poems of Homer were to the Greeks of the classical age and down to Christian
era, very much what the "Book of the Law" became to the Hebrews. It was not only
regarded as a chronicle of most important events in their early history, but also as a
rule and guide in religion and ethics. That this was so is a commonplace of classical
scholarship, but it is not quite easy to see how it was in the ordinary treatment of the
subject; nor does a casual reference to the poems themselves either in the original (if
the reader knows Greek) or in one of the many good modem translations, help us
much. But were we to read for the first time, and without any Repossessions, the
purely narrative portions of the Old Testament, we should see at first as little moral to
the tale as there appears in Homer; in fact in the older narratives of the Bible, the
passages ascribed by the critics to "the Jahwist," there is less of the didactic than in
the Grecian poet, for Homer dearly loves to moralize, though always in a simple
naive way that is attractive rather than otherwise.
Mrs. Hulst expounds these epics for us from the moral standpoint, and in conjunction
with an interpretation of the names of the people in the story that would almost turn it
into an allegory, as she herself suggests, of the type of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
How far her etymologies can be accepted is a matter for experts to decide, but some
seem, to say the least, rather forced. But however this might be decided it would not
affect the general conclusion she reaches.
She touches, rather slightly, as it is not directly in line with her purpose, on the origin
of the stories that underly the Iliad and Odyssey. The myth of Helen and her
abduction is really a variant of the rape of Persephone, and is curiously connected
with the Labyrinth myth of Crete. Both the Iliad and Odyssey however are composite
in plot regarded from the mythological point of view and contain many re-
duplications. Odysseus, however, from one aspect, is undoubtedly the wandering
sungod, though many other elements enter into the tale as we have it.
The descent into Hades is of especial interest to those interested in the antecedents of
Masonic initiation. It is the model on which Vergil framed his Sixth Book, and
undoubtedly reflects the ceremonies and teachings of mystery initiations.
While Mrs. Hulsf s work contains very little that is directly of interest to Masons as
such, it is interesting in itself, and is an inducement to read Homer at first hand,
whose work is a not inconsiderable part of that background of analogous material that
the student absolutely needs in order to balance his ideas and gain a sane perspective
in his investigations into the origin of Masonry
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THE QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
WHAT MASONRY IS NOT
Past Grand Master Dem's article in the October number entitled "What Masonry Is
Not," has aroused my interest, I have read and re-read the article many times. I am
reminded of the statement accredited to Shakespeare which runs: "There is nothing
either Good or Bad, but that thinking makes it so." Now if Bro. Dern thinks Masonry
is neither reformatory, charitable, religious nor a money-making institution, then to
him it is not such.
Bro. Dem approaches the subject by indirection, not what he thinks it is, not what it
was intended to be, but what it is not. Albert Pike, in Morals and Dogma, tells us that
"No man can say that he hath a sure possession of the truth as of a chattel." To me the
best authority for what Masonry was, or is intended to be, is the Ancient Charges, the
Ritual and Monitor. What Masonry really is might be determined by a survey of its
works and activities.
Now the mere statement that Masonry is not a reformatory institution is acceptable to
me, when applied to the profane. Yet within its own household, if Masonic writers
have not led us astray, it has actually passed through some very decided reforms.
When we note the laws and edicts of certain Grand bodies, accomplished or in the
making, I am convinced that reform is still the order of the day, and when the journal
of proceedings of the last annual communication reaches you, you will note some
very drastic measures along this line - 1 refer to the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
If, as Bro. Dem says, Masonry demands "moral perfection" as a prerequisite and is
neither charitable nor religious, I can't conceive of any worth while purpose it could
possibly have. The rough ashlar is to me a symbol of imperfection and nothing else. It
symbolizes the selected material, although rough, therefore imperfect, it must be big
enough morally so that it can be squared and polished into a perfect ashlar. I know of
but one instance in Masonry where a polished stone was found and was used to good
advantage, but let us not forget that in this instance this stone was polished by a
Mason, yea, a most conspicuous one at that.
To say that Masonry is not a charitable institution is to me like saying that the New
Testament is not Christian. To say that Masonry teaches charity yet makes no
pretense to practice charity, is to separate the precept from the example, and the
Mason taking the cue from the body politic might do the same, which would result in
Masonry in the aggregate doing the teaching and let the profane set the example. To
me it is as impossible to teach Masons to be charitable successfully and have them to
act otherwise in the body politic as it would be any of the other virtues we teach, for
example, toleration, truth, brotherly love, hope, faith, etc.
At any rate, whether Masonry was intended to be a society of men banded together
for the purpose of administering charity as a body politic, it is now very decidedly
such, for example, witness the large number of state and national institutions here and
abroad maintained by Masonic bodies for the care of not only members of its own
household but in some eases those who have no connection whatever. Is this not
charity ? The Ohio Masonic Home at Springfield is the pride of Ohio Masons,
involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in maintenance each year, all collected
and administered through the bodies politic. THE BUILDER a few months ago
carried a list of many such homes.
Surely this is organized charity in one sense. Now Masonry assumes a tolerant and
charitable attitude towards men of every decent political opinion and religious faith.
This, to my mind, is the most beautiful of its attributes, the most necessary to its
universality, by it Masonry becomes the center of union. Is this not charity and does it
not apply to the body politic? If any Mason thi nk s not let him try to array his Grand
Lodge or any other Grand body against any of them and he will be convinced. I
readily agree that membership in the Masonic Fraternity is no health and accident
policy; true it enters into no contract with its members to pay them any fixed sum in
case of extreme indigence, as is the case with other societies, however I would not
call such an agreement and the fulfillment thereof "charity," but rather a purely
If Masonry be not a religious institution why do we refuse to recognize the Masons of
France and Belgium who have been proscribed for no other reason than the removal
of the Sacred Law from their altars ? If the V. S. L. is not a religious symbol then I
know not what it is. Masonry reveres the Sacred Books of all nations, therefore she is
not sectarian but the more religious. Is the rainbow-not the more colorful for its many
hues? Is a nation not the more democratic because of added democratic principles ?
Does not the mastery of many tongues make a man a linguist ? Is a man less educated
because he possesses a knowledge of many subjects?
To me every Masonic Lodge and Temple is representative of the first great religious
edifice erected by a free people who received pay for their labors and were not slaves
or bondsmen, the subjects of both a Hebrew and a Gentile King, and we may not be
far wrong in assuming that the chief architect of that building was the son of a
Hebrew mother and a Gentile father. While our lodge is representative of a Hebrew
Temple, it is also dedicated to two Christian saints. If Masonry is not religious
because she is tolerant of many faiths and creeds, what can we say of God's Temple,
the world, which is composed also of many faiths and creeds?
I agree with Bro. Dem that Masonry is not a money-making institution, at least in the
premise that to store up wealth in great quantity is not its mission. However when I
read of the many structures f or Masonic purpose only, and others constructed by
Masonic bodies to be partially used by them, with additional space to be leased as
quarters for purely business enterprises paying monthly or annual rental, and costing
millions of dollars, and since we are discussing what Masonry is, rather than what it
is intended to be, I am almost ready to accept a different conclusion.
W. H. Culpeper, Ohio.
* * *
THE TWO GLOBES AND THE PILLARS
I have been a subscriber to THE BUILDER for several years, and am desirous of
some information that so far I have been unable to obtain. Does it make any
difference which Pillar is placed on the left? Should it be on the one bearing the
Celestial Globe or the one bearing the Terrestrial Globe? Do the globes have any
connection with the names that the Pillars bear?
N. S. G., Arizona.
I should like to know why the Terrestrial and Celestial Globes are used in connection
with the work in the Fellowcraft (other than to denote the universality of Masonry)
and would you give such information about their adoption as you may have at hand?
T. S. J., Arizona.
These two questions open up an extended vista into the history and evolution of the
Ritual. However, from the practical point of view, and speaking generally, the Pillars
should be arranged as may best fit in with the Ritual requirements of the work, where
there is not a specific rule in the jurisdiction or an old tradition in the lodge. Outside
of that there is no rule for their arrangement.
The use of Terrestrial and Celestial Globes to surmount the capitals of the Pillars is
modern and is peculiar to America, though there may be, of course, isolated instances
elsewhere. Some old lodges in England, and many on the Continent of Europe have
such globes in their lodge rooms, but only as part of the equipment to match the
requirements of the Second Degree.
The question again as to which Pillar was on the right and which was on the left
depends on the way you look at them; whether approaching the porch or whether
from within the Middle Chamber. English speaking Masonry takes the former
viewpoint, European Masonry the latter. The question, in fact, us back not only to the
differences between the "Ancients" and "Moderns," but further still, to the
formulation of the Three Degrees as we have them today.
The reason for the adoption of the globes is still a matter of opinion, but, briefly, it
would appear that our eighteenth century brethren had a more or less conscious
purpose of making Freemasonry not only a moral institution, but an educational one
as well. The educational features were concentrated in the Fellowcraft Degree. But
though Wm. Preston did a great deal to bring this about and his influence on our own
Ritual is very great, yet this same idea was being worked out by others before him in
England, and on rather different lines in both France and Germany. On the Continent
of Europe the globes appear simply as scientific instruments placed on the usual
stands to enable them to be easily turned. Their appearance on the Pillars seems to be
due to a confusion with the ornamental curved capitals of the two Pillars of the Porch,
as described in the Old Testament. The original speaks of a "crown" on the
"chapiters," and the Rabbis explained this by a Hebrew word meaning "pommel," but
which might also be translated "ball" or "globe." From this it was generally
understood, until modern times, that the Pillars were of one of the Five Orders of
Architecture, which as they were detached, bore on their capitals ornamental balls to
finish them off. Actually it was the capitals themselves that are said to be curved or
globular, being possibly on the model of the lotus columns of ancient Egyptian
R. J. M.
* * *
While I am holding no brief for the author of "Democracy vs. Autocracy," reviewed
in THE BUILDER, the reviewer accuses the author of an inaccuracy in the use of the
word "maelstrom," and this accusation is hardly justified although it is almost too
slight a matter to mention.
"Maelstrom" does not mean mill-stream. The word comes from the Scandinavian
malen, to whirl, and strom, a current or stream. Inasmuch as there are air currents, it
would be perfectly proper to call a disturbance of the air, caused by a whirling air
current, a maelstrom.
Of course it is realized that when, by long usage, a word comes to denote a particular
thing or idea, that it is not altogether correct to use it to indicate something else. At
the same time the author is more correct than the reviewer.
I would also say that the Maelstrom off the coast of Norway is still much dreaded at
certain times although it may not be as famous as it was once because of present
familiarity with it.
Hasn't all this got a lot to do with Masonry?
Carl A. Foss, Virginia.
The reviewer writes: "I must thank Bro. Foss for his correction. He is absolutely right
in the derivation of the word. However, I do not think I was so very far out of the way
as the word 'mill' in English comes from the same root. The point was raised because
it seemed to give the keynote of the book. Those responsible for its title have in mind
apparently the approach of a devastating storm, a tornado, and for this they use a term
that can only be properly understood as figuratively implying an irresistible sucking
down into a vortex and final and complete disappearance. 1 do not like the Klan. and I
object to its methods, but the work under discussion is as partisan in tone and method
as the Klan itself."
* * *
BOOKS WANTED AND FOR SALE
Bro. H. M. Washburn would like to secure a copy of "The American Freemason" for
January, 1916. and also the indexes for Vols. VII and IX of the same magazine.
Bro. John Linston has some bound volumes of THE BUILDER, from 1920 to 1924,
inclusive, for sale at $2.50 per volume. Also a copy of Rebold's General History of
Freemasonry in Europe Cincinnati 1868, for $1.50.
Letters may be addressed in care of the editor of THE BUILDER.
* * *
A question has arisen among some members of our lodge as to whether it is right for
the Worshipful Master to use the sign of fidelity when the lodge is being opened or
closed. It is not the custom for him to do so but I have always thought that this is not
correct and I should like to have the benefit of your opinion on the point.
J. L. B., Vermont.
It being the custom of your lodge it is probably right to perpetuate it, as local usages
should always be preserved unless manifestly wrong, and by that it should be
understood, founded on some real error and not merely apparently inconsistent with
some other custom or ceremony.
Unfortunately the appropriate and dignified ceremonial of all the brethren coming to
order under the sign of fidelity when called up by the Master has fallen into disuse in
a great many jurisdictions. It is one of the old "customs of the Craft" and there is a
strong evidence to show that it was employed at and before the time of the formation
of the first Grand Lodge, and this same evidence also shows that the Master used this
sign in opening the lodge as well as his Wardens and the brethren. Probably there was
some definite idea underlying the custom in your lodge or your jurisdiction, from
which it was argued that it was not proper for the Master to give it. Perhaps this idea
was that in thus coming to order the brethren were expressing their fidelity to him. If
so, it would appear that a too narrow view had been taken of it. It really signifies the
Mason's fidelity to the obligation that makes him such.
In England, and the jurisdictions that follow the English work, the brethren and
officers, including the Master, stand to order under the sign of the degree in which the
lodge is being opened or closed. Yet the old form is not wholly forgotten, for the sign
of fidelity is always given by all at the very end of the proceedings after the lodge has
been declared closed, and definitely with the intention of expressing faithful
adherence to the obligation and especially the obligation to secrecy.
* * *
The article I recently sent you which dealt with brethren who had long been in the
active service of the Fraternity is sure to exhibit many omissions which, from time to
time, may be called to our attention.
Please let me add one more to those already sent you and which may form a
paragraph in some succeeding issue if a place cannot be found for it in the one
containing the article in question.
I note that the Rev. J. R. N. Bell at the recent Communication of the Grand Lodge of
Oregon was installed to serve his fiftieth term as Grand Chaplain.
Robert I. Clegg, Associate Editor, Chicago, 111.
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YE EDITOR'S CORNER
In a Roman Catholic paper published in Buffalo, N. Y., a notice of our Book Catalog
appeared some time ago, and especially of the fact that a number of works written by
members of that Church against Freemasonry had been listed therein, on which the
comment was made that "The mention of these books by the Editor of a Masonic
Catalog indicates a degree of broadmindedness not often found among Masons."
Is this true? If so, Masons have departed from one of the great principles of the Order.
* * *
Man's path in seeming error often lies;
The reason for his acts to us is dim;
How much to dissipate the wrong he tries,
How much he feels is right, how much is sin,
What great temptation has bestrode his path;
What weakness in his earthly frame may be
Or lack of training in his young life, hath
Made him feel and see opposed to you and me.
We know not nor can we a judgment give,
A deeper sight than ours that power claims;
Enough for me that I should always live
In constant study of myself and aims.